Moygashel man charges with petrol bombing son’s house refused bail

Dungannon Courthouse TT0509-JS112
Dungannon Courthouse TT0509-JS112

A Moygashel man currently remanded in custody on what a judge described as “potentially murderous charges” has failed in a second attempt to obtain bail at East Tyrone Magistrates Court.

Stuart Harkness (25) from Moygashel Park is accused of petrol-bombing the house his ex-partner had moved into with their toddler son, as well as a number of similar attacks on the household’s cars and property between January 20 and February 9.

At the original bail application police objected to release and a detective outlined disturbing allegations of how police believe all the incidents are linked to a relationship breakdown.

The court heard the defendant’s ex-partner had returned to live with her parents, and took their three-year old son with her. The child was present throughout all matters.

The detective said following one of the incidents, CCTV cameras were installed which showed Harkness arrive at the house on 9 February. He is seen to place a box of petrol bombs at the front door and set it alight. On being arrested Harkness denied all but the incident caught on CCTV.

He claimed he had been “disappointed” to receive court papers relating to an application for a non-molestation order. He then loaded up five bottles of petrol and made his way to the house. The detective added this was in the knowledge “his own son was in a bedroom” (at the time).

A later application for high court bail was also refused. At the most recent court sitting a defence barrister submitted there had been a change of circumstances meriting a fresh bail application. He stated a report had been received from his client’s GP indicating he had previously been suffering from stress.

However District Judge John Meehan remarked, “This report tells me very little. I do not consider what has been submitted to the court amounts to a change of circumstances. Bail therefore remains refused.” Harkness is to appear again by video-link on May 4.