Court hears knives, hammers and pick-axes have allegedly been brandished during ‘feud’ incidents

Ballymena Magistrates Court

A COURT has heard weapons including knives, hammers and pick-axes were allegedly brandished during incidents as part of an “feud” in a Ballymena housing estate.

Ballymena Magistrates Court was told that in one incident at least eight armed men attacked three homes and several people were injured.

Father and son Stephen William Mark (58), of Shetland Gardens, Ballymena, and his son, Stuart Stephen Mark (33), of Lewis Park, Ballymena, appeared at court via video link from prison.

Both are charged with aggravated burglary of an address at Orkney Drive in the Ballykeel estate on October 25 this year and inflicting grievous bodily harm on a man whilst possessing a hammer.

They are also accused of causing grievous bodily harm to a second male with intent and the third charge they each both face is possession of a hammer with intent to commit gbh.

Stephen William Mark alone faces a fourth charge – possessing a quantity of petrol bombs.

A police officer said one incident happened in the Ballykeel estate between 11pm and 11.30pm on October 25 this year when a gang broke into three homes.

It was alleged individuals were attacked with hammers and threats to kill were made.

Victims received multiple injuries including puncture wounds.

The detective constable said in one statement of complaint both Marks were named and in another statement one of the men was named.

The court heard Stephen Mark denied being present and denied all the allegations whilst Stuart Mark made no comment.

The police officer said incidents were part of an “ongoing feud” and added: “There have been tensions in the Ballykeel estate for years”.

The court heard weapons allegedly used in incidents included knives, hammers, pick axes and poles and some knives were found during searches.

A defence barrister asked if the complainants were known to police and had criminal records and the officer said he believed they are and do.

The lawyer said as it stood the evidence against the two men were two statements.

The barrister asked if it was correct that police had held a meeting with individuals in Ballykeel regarding the trouble and the officer said he was aware of it.

Applying for bail the lawyer said an address was available outside Ballymena where both accused wished to “reside quietly”.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said the charges before the court were “very serious” and were linked to a number of armed people allegedly entering three properties when a number of injuries were inflicted but a denial had been made.

Both men were given £500 bail with a 9pm-7am curfew when they are to be electronically tagged and they are to have no contact with the complainants and are banned from the Ballykeel estate.

The cases were adjourned to December 19.

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