A man was subjected to a three-hour kidnap ordeal in which he received broken ribs and a broken eye socket after being attacked with a knuckle duster, Coleraine Magistrates Court heard on Monday.
Details emerged as William Christopher Kennedy (29), with an address at Moycraig Road near Bushmills, was charged with kidnapping a man; the theft of £500 from the man and aiding and abetting grievous bodily harm on the man.
Kennedy was due to appear at court from prison and a bail hearing proceeded in his absence after a fault developed with the video link.
A police officer objected to bail saying she feared the defendant could interfere with the injured party, who lives in Portstewart, and witnesses.
The detective constable said three other suspects were still being sought by police and there was a hunt for a vehicle.
The officer said the victim’s wife was contacted online and received phone calls advising her not to co-operate with police.
The detective said the approaches were not made by the defendant who was in custody.
The officer said witnesses in the case are frightened.
The policewoman said Kennedy has a “substantial” criminal record and there was a risk of further offences being committed.
The detective told the court a “kidnapping incident” took place on Tuesday December 10.
She said the injured party named Kennedy and three other suspects.
The officer said the four suspects came to the man’s home and “invited him out for lunch” and in hindsight the victim believed it was a ploy to get him out of the property.
Two vehicles were used, one of which was later seized, and they travelled in convoy.
The detective said police Kennedy was driving one of the vehicles.
She said the victim was driven to a layby at Tesco in Portstewart where he was assaulted by another suspect.
The man was then driven to Ballymoney where a “shed was searched looking for cash” before he was brought to the Ballysally estate in Coleraine where the injured party got some money and handed it over.
The police officer said the victim escaped through a window and alleged that Kennedy gave chase.
The injured party was able to get another person to raise the alarm but another co-accused then threatened the victim saying he would “choke you out” and told him: “Get in the car I’m not finished with you”.
The court heard the man’s ordeal started at midday and the alarm was raised around 3pm.
A defence barrister said the defendant had “given a complete denial” of the offences.
The defence lawyer said there had been “some discussion about broken ribs and a broken eye socket” and District
Judge Peter King said there was suggestion of injuries being caused by a knuckle duster.
Rejecting the bail bid, Judge King said there were clear risks of interference and three suspects and a vehicle – a Citroen Berlingo – were being sought by police.
He said they were an “extremely striking set of alleged facts”.
Kennedy was remanded in custody and the case was adjourned to January 13.