Larne disorder men 'UDA foot soldiers'

Published Friday, 20 June 2014
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Two men described as "foot soldiers of the UDA" have appeared in court in connection with serious disorder in Larne earlier this year.

Steven Blackwood, who is 28, unemployed and from Moyard Gardens, Greenisland, and Stephen Mettleton, who is 34 and a builder from Rossmore Green, also in Greenisland, are both accused of attempted murder, intimidation, criminal damage and rioting.

On Friday, Coleraine Court was told they were part of a 100-strong UDA mob that attacked homes in the Knockdhu Park and Ferris Avenue areas of the Co Antrim town in March.

The masked gang was armed with machetes, knives, golf clubs and hammers.

Police crews were attacked as they responded to the incident.

At the time, the PSNI blamed the attacks on the south-east Antrim UDA.

A detective said police believed Blackwood and Mettleton took part in an attack on the home of a man which left their alleged victim with stab wounds and broken bones.

The man's two young daughters hid under a bed during the attack.

The detective said the UDA mob beat the man "to within an inch of his life".

The court was told that full DNA profiles for Blackwood and Mettleton were found on gloves and a balaclava. The items were discovered in a bin, together with a hammer stained by blood from their alleged victim.

A defence solicitor applied for bail, and said the defendants denied any involvement with the UDA.

The men were remanded in custody.

Meanwhile, a 36-year-old woman arrested in Ballyclare has been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice and will appear at Ballymena Magistrates' Court on 17 July.

© UTV News
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