Man who 'slept in wooden outhouse' he built at wife's address in Newcastle area is accused of plunging a pick-axe into her back as he moved a mattress

Man who 'slept in wooden outhouse' he built at wife's address in Newcastle area is accused of plunging a pick-axe into her back as he moved a mattress

A MAN who slept in a wooden outhouse he had built at his wife's address in the Newcastle area is accused of plunging a pick axe into her back whilst he moved a mattress, Downpatrick Magistrates Court was told on Monday.

Thomas Andrew Spiers (49), with an address listed as Mount Merrion Park in Belfast, is charged with attempted murder in relation to Saturday,  August 14.

He is also charged with attempting to choke his wife; possession of a pick axe and knife as offensive weapons with intent to commit attempted murder; and criminal damage to her T-shirt.

The defendant appeared at court via a video link from a custody suite in Banbridge.

The accused said he understood the charges.

A police officer said she believed she could connect the defendant to the charges.

The officer opposed bail and told the court police were called to a "serious domestic" incident at 11.10 on Saturday at the injured party's house where her "ex-husband" had attended to see his children as arranged.

The officer said Spiers asked the injured party to help him move a mattress from a shed in the back garden and then allegedly told her: "You have ruined my life".

Spiers is accused of producing a "small pick axe" and lunged towards her with it.

She then tried to get away and as she ran down the garden, Spiers gave chase and "struck her on the back twice with the pick axe, using the metal end to strike her. She had two large cuts and welts to her back".

The police officer said Spiers also grabbed the woman by the throat, "choking her" and at one point she "couldn't breath" but eventually she was able to get the defendant "off her".

One of the defendant's daughters came out of the house and got between them and "grabbed the pick axe from the defendant's hand".

The police officer said Spiers then produced a knife from his pocket and swung his arm in an attempt to stab the victim who suffered a two inch long cut to her upper left arm.

Spiers then dropped the knife and left, the court was told.

Neighbours were alerted and police attended and the defendant was arrested.

When cautioned for the offences he told police: "I lost it, it is as simple as that".

The court heard the defendant had no criminal record and there was no domestic violence log.

The officer said the injured party is in fear because she felt Spiers now has "nothing to lose".

The policewoman said following a medical assessment it was believed the defendant has "suicidal thoughts".

The officer said there was a risk of re-offending and interference with witnesses.

Defence barrister Seamus Lannon said up until now the defendant has "led a very stable life".

He said Spiers was "not an ex-husband" although he and his wife were "estranged".

The lawyer said the defendant had a different account of what happened.

The barrister said the woman had assisted Spiers in moving a mattress.

He added: "She fell with the mattress and as a result of that this incident occurred".

The lawyer told the court: "He slept in a wooden outhouse at the wife's address with the wife's permission and blessing in Newcastle and the access to the wooden hut that he built for himself, with his wife's consent, he needed that knife in order to gain access to that.

"The knife was cutting into his leg and he took the knife from his pocket. It is a knife with about a three inch blade".

The lawyer said the defendant now knows he has to conduct himself in an "appropriate way" and asked for Spiers to be admitted to bail to live with his parents in Belfast.

The barrister said Spiers' wife was in "no danger" from the defendant.

District Judge Amanda Brady refused bail, saying: "This is very concerning, it was an unprovoked attack, allegedly.

"It was pretty vicious, it seems. He had armed himself with a pick axe".

She was concerned that if released on bail the defendant may re-offend or attempt to contact his wife.

Spiers was remanded into custody and the case was adjourned to Downpatrick Magistrates Court on September 9.