NI news: Men who attacked woman's home may have been seeking her ex, court hears

Masked men who launched a hammer and machete attack on a woman’s home in East Belfast may have been seeking her ex-partner, a court heard.

Shots were also fired and windows smashed on a car parked outside the property on Lewis Drive last week, it was claimed.

Details emerged as a 28-year-old man was remanded into custody accused of involvement in the incident.

Glen Brown faces charges of attempted aggravated burglary with intent to commit grievous bodily harm, possessing a firearm and ammunition, and criminal damage to an Audi A3 belonging to the woman living at the property.

Police received a report that a number of men tried to force their way into the house in the early hours of January 22.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard the resident claimed her home was attacked by weapons including a gun, hammer, crowbar and machete.

At least two rounds were allegedly discharged, and a spent, blank cartridge later recovered. A PSNI officer claimed “substantial” damage was caused to the front door and windows on the house.

Four people were said to have been involved, with two of the suspects named. Setting out an alleged motive for the incident, the officer contended that the perpetrators may have been looking for the woman’s ex-partner.

“I think it’s to do with seeking him rather than being personally about her,” she said.

Brown was arrested four days later, but another suspect has yet to be detained. Defence solicitor Michael Madden argued that the case against his client is based on “tenuous” CCTV evidence.

“The person alleged to be Mr Brown can’t be identified, his face is completely concealed by a balaclava,” the lawyer said.

Mr Madden added that the accused provided an account of being at a friend’s address at the time of the incident.

Bail was refused at Thursday’s hearing due to concerns about potential interference with witnesses.

Judge Liam McStay said: “It’s such a serious matter that I’m not satisfied conditions can be imposed to manage the risk.”

Brown was remanded in custody to appear again on February 25.

Belfast Live