Court hears 'convicted terrorist' accused of kidnap and attempted murder was living in fortified home in Ballymena

Court hears 'convicted terrorist' accused of kidnap and attempted murder was living in fortified home in Ballymena

A POLICE officer told a court a "convicted terrorist" accused of kidnap and attempted murder was living in a fortified property in Ballymena.

Details were given at Antrim Magistrates' Court, sitting in Ballymena, where David Coleman (36), of Fountain Place, Ballymena, was refused bail.

He is charged with the kidnapping and attempted murder of a man and arson of the man's car on October 11 last year.

The defendant is also charged with possessing Pregabalin on November 4 last year.

Coleman appeared via video link from Maghaberry Prison.

He is one of a number of men charged in connection with the case and has been in custody on the charges since last November.

Objecting to bail being granted, a police officer said a man wearing only boxer shorts and shoes was found with severe injuries in a field at Lisnamurrican Road near Broughshane.

He had been stabbed in the chest "near his heart"; sliced "to the bone" across the face; had a fracture and detached jaw; a skull fracture and his face required surgery. He had been in intensive care for a number of weeks.

Police found a phone number "of relevance" and Coleman was established as a suspect.

The officer said phone records showed there had been contact between the defendant and the injured man, leading police to believe that an attack occurred at Coleman's address in Ballymena.

At the time the defendant was on bail with a tag and it had not been breached that night, the PSNI officer said.

The court was told the injured man was fit to be spoken to on November 19 last year and made a statement saying an assault happened at Coleman's home and Coleman had inflicted most of the injuries.

The officer said the victim had described a "vicious" attack being led by Coleman, involving repeated punches and kicks; being stabbed in the chest with a kitchen knife; the knife being "put in his mouth and then slashed on his face".

The officer said the victim's car was then searched on Coleman's "orders" with another suspect returning with what was allegedly a "black book with names".

The victim denied having a "black book of contacts" but claimed Coleman continued to punch, kick and "humiliate" him in front of other suspects.

It was alleged Coleman ordered the victim to strip off his clothes and then made a phone call asking: 'Where do I get rid of somebody?'

The officer said a "local man arrived a short time later" and as the assault continued the defendant "directed 'whenever the car leaves you leave'.

The officer said males then took the victim in the boot of a car to Lisnamurrican Road where he was "dumped out in a field" and his car was then burnt out on a rural part of the Doury Road.

He said the victim's clothing and a mobile phone were also "likely burnt".

The policeman told the court Coleman was a "convicted terrorist with convictions for possessing documents and records likely to be useful to terrorists and belonging to or professing to belong to a proscribed organisation".

He said Coleman had "numerous violent crimes" including "firearms offences, drugs convictions and a pending drugs case".

The officer alleged the Ballymena incident was "motivated by drugs" and with his "background in serious crime and terrorism" Coleman was "likely to attempt to interfere in the investigation and interfere with witnesses".

The officer claimed Coleman gave his phone to a person close to him "in an effort to distance himself from his phone in breach of the Terrorism Notification Order".

The policeman claimed Coleman "cleaned up and changed the kitchen flooring in his house".

The officer said Coleman's house was "secured by high metal gates to the entry; a double drop bar on the back door; a shutter to the front window and a secure door at the bottom of the stairs"

The policeman said the statement from the injured man "shows ongoing criminality occurs inside the house and the house is secured to prevent access by police".

The officer said that despite being on bail for drug offences, the defendant "continued to deal drugs as demonstrated by the injured party's statement".

The officer said cash was found at Coleman's home when arrested.

The PSNI officer said Coleman "has a network of criminals to assist in his escape" if released.

He said the defendant had only moved to Ballymena in 2021 and had "established a network of fellow drugs offenders".

The officer said the injured man had received threats and graffiti was "put up" in north Down.

The officer said he believed the injured man had gone to the Ballymena address after receiving a text message "in relation to drugs".

The officer confirmed to a defence lawyer "no blood or DNA" was found linking the injured man to Coleman's address.

Refusing bail, District Judge Nigel Broderick said they were "serious charges".

He said it had been a "harrowing incident in which the complainant was effectively left for dead and were it not for the timely intervention of a passing bin lorry, which was able to see his location in a field, barely clothed in winter, then the complainant could easily have died from the significant injuries".

The judge said Coleman had a "relevant record" and refused bail because of a risk of further offences and a risk of interference with the accused.

The case was adjourned to July 21.