Two children were in house during hammer attack

A local court has heard that a man accused of a hammer attack was assaulted by the alleged injured party seven years ago.

Stephen Tracey is charged with assaulting the man with a hammer at the weekend.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard that when he was arrested and cautioned, the 42-year-old allegedly told police he acted in self defence because he believed he was going to be assaulted by the man.

He also claimed the alleged injured party had bitten off half of his ear and stabbed him in the chest in an incident seven years ago.

The court was told that police searched the Glenvale Park area and discovered a hammer covered in blood close to where Tracey was found.

They also found a pair of scissors in the 42-year-old’s trouser pocket.

Opposing bail, an investigating officer said it was a ‘brutal and contemptible act’ and it was aggravated by the fact two young children were in the house at the time of the alleged incident.

She added that police fear further offences could be committed if Tracey is released on bail or he could interfere with witnesses.

It was also revealed the 42-year-old has 66 previous convictions, however none of these are for similar offences.

Defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott said his client does not have any convictions for violence and ‘does not appear to be a violent person.

District Judge Barney McElholm released Tracey on his own bail of £1,000, to live at an address in Maydown. He was also banned from entering the Waterside beyond Caw Roundabout and from having contact with alleged injured party. He will appear in court again in January.