'You're going to hear mummy's last breath' - man accused of trying to suffocate partner is denied bail
A man who allegedly tried to choke and suffocate his partner in front of their child must remain in custody to ensure her safety, a High Court judge ruled today.
Mr Justice Deeny refused Gareth Reid's application for bail after hearing claims that he held a pillow over the woman's face and told his infant daughter: "You're going to hear mummy's last breath."
Reid, 25, faces charges of attempted murder, attempting to choke with intent, common assault and threats to kill.
He is alleged alleged to have carried out the attack at a house in the Ballymoney area on July 9.
Police alerted by a neighbour that a woman was screaming for help and a baby crying found Reid's partner in an hysterical state and holding their five-month-old child, the court heard.
She claimed the accused had knocked her onto a bed after a row started over him smoking "weed" around their daughter.
It was alleged that Reid, of no fixed address, then grabbed her around the throat, applying pressure with both hands and telling her she was going to die.
According to the woman's account she had the child in her arms throughout the incident.
She claimed Reid then covered her face with a pillow for up to 30 seconds and pressed down so she couldn't breathe.
A prosecution lawyer said the accused then allegedly pulled the pillow away from her eyes, saying he wanted to watch her die.
He added: "She also stated that he said to the baby 'You're going to hear mummy's last breath'.
"She said she believed he was going to kill her."
The court heard Reid allegedly let her up after she allowed him to hold the little girl.
The woman further claimed he made threats to kill her and her family.
Following his arrest Reid spent nearly two weeks in a mental health unit before he was deemed fit for detention and interview.
He denied the alleged offences, saying he only struck his partner once in self-defence.
Defence lawyers renewed their application for bail after hostel accommodation in Belfast became available.
But Mr Justice Deeny pointed out: "It's not exactly in the next country."
He said there would be nothing to stop Reid obtaining cannabis and getting on a bus to Ballymoney if he wanted to search for the alleged victim.
"This was a very worrying alleged attack on this young woman, it might have ended up in tragedy," he added.
Noting that Reid had to be committed to a mental health facility immediately afterwards, the judge ruled bail must be refused.
He confirmed: "The risk to the injured party must prevail over the right to liberty of Mr Reid."