Teenager accused of beating partner unconscious and ramming caravan

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A teenager accused of beating his partner unconscious and ramming a van into her caravan while she was inside must remain in custody, a High Court judge has ruled.

Matthew Christopher McDonagh was refused bail amid claims he also tampered with gas canisters, threatened to burn the woman alive and then stole the mobile home after she was taken to hospital.

The 18-year-old, of Millview Manor in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, faces charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, possession of an offensive weapon, and three counts of criminal damage.

He faces further counts of threats to kill, threats to damage property endangering life, and theft over the incident on January 27. McDonagh denies all of the offences.

The court heard the woman alleges McDonagh launched the attack at her home at The Glen in Coalisland after warning in a phone call: “If you’re there when I come up you will be sorry.”

Crown lawyer Conor Maguire claimed the woman hid under a bed, but was trailed out by the hair when the accused arrived within minutes.

McDonagh then allegedly punched her about the face and head, knocking her unconscious.

According to the prosecution he woke her by throwing cold water around her, dragged her onto a bed and continued to assault her.

Once again she was beaten unconscious, before being revived for a second time with water, it was claimed.

McDonagh is accused of hitting her with a steel jug during the incident.

Mr Maguire contended that the defendant left, shouting “Now I’m killing you”, got into his van and reversed it at speed into the caravan.

The vehicle was allegedly driven into the mobile home a second time at force, causing a window to fall out and smash.

It was claimed that bystanders dragged McDonagh from the van and tried to calm him down, only for him to respond: “I’m setting fire to it.”

Mr Justice McAlinden heard that when other men told the accused his partner was still inside he allegedly replied: “I’m burning her in it.”

At that point McDonagh is alleged to have tampered with the gas canisters to turn them on, before some of those at the scene disconnected them and urged him to leave before police arrived.

The alleged victim contacted her mother after hearing the van being driven off, the prosecution said.

She was taken to hospital for treatment to bruising and swelling to her face, eyes and shoulder. Clumps of her hair were also missing.

When police arrived at the site the caravan and McDonagh’s vehicle were both missing. Neither have been located since, according to Mr Maguire.

He said the accused provided a prepared statement at interview denying all the offences, and made no comment to questions put to him.

Refusing bail, Mr Justice McAlinden expressed concerns about any potential reoffending, as well as evidence apparently being “spirited away”.