Ballymena Court hears man was 'tortured' before being 'dumped near death' in field near Slemish Mountain

Ballymena Court hears man was 'tortured' before being 'dumped near death' in field near Slemish Mountain

TWO men appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday charged with attempted murder and kidnap in connection with a man being discovered seriously injured and "near death" in a field near Slemish Mountain.

They are David Philip Cherry (39), of Waveney Park, Belfast and Sean Davies (38), of Queen's Park, Saintfield.

They are also both charged with arson of the alleged victim's car on October 11.

Cherry is further accused of possessing Diazepam on November 3 this year and

Davies is charged with possessing cocaine on November 3.

The previous week David Coleman (36), of Fountain Place in Ballymena, and Mark Bradshaw (51), of High Street in Ballymena, appeared at the same court charged over the same incident.

A police officer said she believed she could connect Cherry and Davies to the charges.

Objecting to bail she said the victim had been spotted lying in a field by a passing bin lorry and he was only wearing Boxer shorts and shoes.

She said the man was severely injured and had a stab wound in his chest close to his heart and other injuries included a skull fracture, a detached and broken jaw and a slice across his face.

The man was in intensive care for a number of weeks.

The man's car was found burnt out at a lane on a rural part of the Doury Road near Ballymena.

Following telecommunication enquiries police made arrests on November 3 and during searches phone handsets were seized.

The court heard following a "lengthy recovery" after coming out of sedation and having surgery, the victim made a statement to police on November 19, alleging he was invited to Coleman's property at Fountain Place in Ballymena to "pack cocaine" due to him having an "outstanding debt" to Coleman.

The victim alleged Cherry went through the victim's phone and it was alleged the victim was accused of "hacking customers phones" and "taking customers" from Coleman.

The victim claimed Cherry had "laughed along" and "encouraged" Coleman to assault the victim.

The victim, the police officer told the court, claimed Coleman produced a knife which was heated on a gas hob before stabbing him in the chest and putting it in his mouth and "slashing his face deeply".

The victim also alleged he was forced to strip and clean up his own blood at Coleman's address.

The victim then alleged he was put in the boot of a car and had been threatened with a knife and a hatchet and had lost consciousness.

The police officer said when the victim was dumped those responsible believed he was either dead or close to death.

The officer said doctors had told how the victim was "within an hour from death" from blood loss or possibly hypothermia.

Defence lawyers said both accused before the court denied involvement.

District Judge Nigel Broderick refused bail saying they were a "harrowing" set of facts and after being stabbed and "effectively tortured" the defendant was "dumped" in a field semi-naked in the early hours of the morning.

He said it was "very fortunate" that due to the height of a bin lorry that the victim was spotted in a field and got treatment.

The cases were adjourned to December 30.