'kidnapping' | 

Man ‘forced into van and threatened with cross bow' over alleged drug debt, court hears

‘The other suspect pointed a cross bow at him and said ‘I will shoot you in the head right now’

Lisburn Magistrates Court

Paul HigginsSunday World

A kidnap victim was allegedly assaulted and threatened with being shot in the head with a cross bow over a drug debt, a court heard today.

Lisburn Magistrates Court also heard claims the victim was driven to his mother’s house to retrieve £500 to pay the supposed debt but there was no cash available.

Appearing at court by videolink from police custody, 30-year-old Michael Kevin Cooke, also known as Hannaway, was charged with five offences arising from the incident on 14 January.

Cooke, from St. Gall’s Avenue in Belfast, is charged with kidnap, causing actual bodily harm, possessing a cross bow, burglary with intent to steal and possessing class C drug Bensedine.

During a contested bail application, a Detective Constable outlined how a member of the public alerted police that she had saw a man being “forced into a Citroen Berlingo van” around the Upper Dunmurry Lane area after he has been “dragged across the pavement.”

Officers were able to obtain dash cam footage which although it did not show the men allegedly involved, did capture the van’s registration which was registered to Cooke and when cops went to his home, he became “aggressive” with them.

A search of the van revealed a cross bow while from Cooke, cops retrieved a key to the front door of the victim’s home and a search of his parent’s address uncovered a SIM card allegedly taken from the victim.

The detective told the court investigators were able to speak to the alleged victim that evening and he recounted that Cooke had been driving the van when the man in the passenger seat forced him into the boot where both men “started to punch and head butt him.”

“The other suspect pointed a cross bow at him and said ‘I will shoot you in the head right now’,” claimed the officer adding that the men drove the victim to his mother’s house “to ask his mother for £500 for money that was owed” but no cash was available.

Taken back to the van and assaulted again, the victim was taken to his home and beaten again before his TV and his SIM card were stolen.

Turning to his objections to bail, the detective said police were concerned about further offences and witness interference, highlighting that the defendant and his accomplice know where both the victim and his mother live.

“This seems to be an argument over a drug debt…and we are worried about the safety of the injured party,” he told the court.

Defence solicitor Ciaran Moynagh stressed that Cooke has a “limited record” with no convictions for violence and argued that with a proposed bail address in Downpatrick, that the father-of-five could be freed with a package of bail conditions.

Highlighting however that the alleged accomplice is still at large, District Judge Rosie Watters said “I don’t think this is the time to be considering bail” and also that she was concerned about the complainant’s safety.

Remanding Cooke into custody, she adjourned the case to 13 February.

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