A man with learning difficulties was allegedly “tortured” by being burnt with an iron after being tied up during an ordeal lasting more than two and a half hours, a court heard on Monday.
The 21-year-old victim was allegedly imprisoned in Portstewart and was repeatedly punched in the ribs and had a credit card forced into his mouth, Coleraine Magistrates Court was told.
A bail hearing for 23-year-old Ryan Goligher (23), of Railway Road, Coleraine, heard a police officer say the case relates to an incident of “false imprisonment and torture of a young male with learning difficulties in Portstewart”.
The officer said the victim was “burned with an iron” and hit on the head as well as being assaulted for more than two and a half hours and his phone was stolen.
Opposing bail, the police officer said the offences were committed when Goligher was on police bail for an assault which happened three weeks earlier.
The officer said a bail address offered for Goligher at Castlerock was in close proximity to the Coleraine area where the victim lives.
Goligher’s co-accused, 25-year-old Paul Liam Johnston, of Coleraine Road, Portstewart, recently had bail refused.
The police officer said that whilst in custody both accused were overheard shouting between cells they would get the matter sorted out and police believed they were attempting to get a friend to apply pressure to get the injured party to withdraw his complaint.
A previous court heard the victim was gagged so his screams could not be heard as he was tortured with the iron and beaten in a bid to get him to reveal where an alleged drug dealer in Coleraine kept drugs and money.
The court was told he was targeted for information because his sister had a relationship with the alleged drugs figure.
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 Johnston’s recent bail application a police officer said that even though the victim 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 was 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 arm 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 but when he returned to a B&B where Johnston lived at at Coleraine Road, Portstewart, he was punched on the head and “knocked out cold”.
The incident 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.
District Judge Liam McNally previously said it had been a “horrific two or three hours of torture”.
Refusing bail for Goiligher on Monday, Judge McNally said the objections of police were “well-founded” and he was concerned further offences could be committed and there could be interference with witnesses.
Both men were remanded in continuing custody to appear back at the same court via video link in September.