Ballyclare homeowner ‘hit with hatchet and whipped with chain until he gave up code to safe’, court hears

Belfast Laganside Court. Picture: Google
Belfast Laganside Court. Picture: Google

Police said the male and female intruders beat him until he revealed the code to a safe at his house in Ballyclare.

Jewellery, the keys to two cars, cash and personal items worth up to £15,000 were stolen from the property at Hillhead Road in the early hours of August 20.

Paul Patterson, 43, of no fixed abode, and 34-year-old Andrea Wilson, from Parkgate Avenue in Belfast, appeared together at the city’s Magistrates Court accused of carrying out the raid.

The pair are jointly charged with aggravated burglary, false imprisonment, attempted grievous bodily harm with intent and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The victim encountered a man and woman in his hallway after he heard glass smashing and got out of bed to investigate.

“He was struck on the head with a hatchet by the male,” an investigating detective said. “A struggle ensued and the injured party fell to the ground, where he was restrained by the suspects, kicked and whipped with a dog chain.”

The court heard the householder was subjected to sustained violence and forced to give the pair the code to a safe within the property.

As the intruders cleaned out the safe, the man managed to escape across fields and raised the alarm.

Later that morning a woman went to a neighbouring property where she ordered a taxi which took her and an associate to the Parkgate Avenue area of Belfast, the court heard.

Police identified Wilson and Patterson as suspects following inquiries with the cab firm and further research in the area.

CCTV obtained from a property close to the scene of the break-in also depicted a man a woman of similar description to the defendants, it was claimed.

Three days later officers searched Wilson’s home and recovered items believed to have been stolen during the burglary, including the victim’s passport and keys to Aston Martin and Land Rover vehicles.

Both accused were located and arrested at the property.

Patterson did not apply for bail and was remanded in custody until next month.

Opposing Wilson’s bid to be released, the detective claimed she had travelled from Belfast to Ballyclare as part of “extraordinary measures” to commit the offences.

"During the course of the incident the injured party has alleged that the female was much more vicious in her attacks, continually kicking him on the ground and hitting him with the chain,” he added.

In cross-examination, he confirmed that neither of the accused have been formally identified at this stage.

The detective also accepted facial features are not fully shown in the CCTV footage he described as a form of night-vision.

Wilson’s solicitor, Christopher Logue, argued there was no risk of her interfering with either the victim or the police investigation.

"This poor man, no doubt a horrible crime has been committed against him, but he hasn’t identified anyone,” Mr Logue stressed.

Refusing bail, however, Judge Philip Mateer remanded Wilson in custody along with her co-accused until September 8.