Man ‘gagged and burned with iron during three hour torture session’


A man was allegedly gagged so his screams could not be heard as he was tortured with a hot iron and badly beaten for up to three hours in a bid to get him to reveal where an alleged drug dealer in Coleraine kept his drugs and money, a court was told on Monday.

The 21-year-old victim was targeted for information at a property in Portstewart’s Coleraine Road because his sister had a relationship with the alleged drugs figure, Coleraine Magistrates Court heard.

Two men - 25-year-old Paul Liam Johnston of Coleraine Road, Portstewart, and Ryan Goligher (23), of Railway Road, Coleraine - are charged in connection with the incident.

Goligher is charged with false imprisonment; grievous bodily harm with intent; attempted grievous bodily harm with intent and the theft of £30 from the alleged victim.

Johnston is charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm; attempted grievous bodily harm with intent and theft of £30 in cash and a mobile phone from the injured party.

During a bail application by Johnston, a police officer said that even though the victim - described as a “vulnerable adult” - said he didn’t know anything an iron was switched on and he was told he had five minutes to give information and when it wasn’t forthcoming the iron was pressed onto his arms.

The officer said two attackers also “tried to break his ribs” and he received knife wounds including cuts to his fingers after they gagged him with a facecloth so his screams could not be heard.

The policeman said it was a case of “physical and mental torture” against the man which left him with burns to his arms and knife wounds as well as injuries to his other parts of his body including the rib cage and head which left the victim “severely traumatised”.

The officer said the victim was in the company of individuals in a bar and placed bets as they watched racing but when he returned to a property at Coleraine Road, Portstewart, he was punched on the head and “knocked out cold”.

The incident allegedly happened in the early hours of March 12 this year.

When the victim came round he was interrogated about the alleged drug dealer from The Heights area of Coleraine and after being badly beaten and hit with an aftershave bottle around the head he was warned by his attackers they knew where his family live.

The officer said the police had recordings which showed that when Johnston was in custody he shouted to his co-accused that he would get the matter “sorted” when released.

Johnston’s defence solicitor said alcohol was a major factor on the night in question but that his client “denies involvement”.

Declining bail, District Judge Liam McNally said Johnson had 93 previous convictions and said it had been a “horrific two or three hours of torture”.

Both accused have been remanded back into custody to appear back at Coleraine Court via video link at the end of July.