Man accused of threatening to push girl (17) off Northway bridge denied bail

A 21-year-old has been accused of assaulting his 17-year-old girlfriend, removing her top and threatening to throw her off a bridge as she pleaded for her life.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 12:43 pm

Jason Whitla, from Beech Meadows, Waringstown, is accused of four offences following a party in Portadown last weekend.

Lisburn Magistrates Court heard on Monday that Whitla is also accused of using her bandeau to wipe his blood-stained knuckles.

Charges against him include assaulting his teenage girlfriend on May 8 this year causing her actual bodily harm. He is also accused of threatening to kill her on the same date intending that she would fear it would be carried out.

Pair were refused bail.

Whitla is further accused of damaging the girl’s top on the same date as well as stealing a jumper belonging to her. He is also accused of possessing Class B drugs, namely cannabis also on the same date.

When asked if he understood the charges he said ‘yes’.

The court heard that the suspect’s aunt made a 999 call at around 3.19pm on Saturday afternoon reporting that her nephew was assaulting his girlfriend. Police attended and spoke with the victim. The police took statements by body-worn video and photographs were taken of her injuries.

Detective Constable Graham said: “The victim alleges that she and the defendant were at a party in Portadown. The defendant became heavily intoxicated and caused a disruption within the household.

“He began shoving the victim within the property which caused injuries to her lip and it to bleed. The householder then asked those parties to leave and while doing so the defendant shoved the victim resulting in her falling to the ground.

“He is then forcefully alleged to have removed her jumper and put it on himself leaving the victim wearing a light grey bandeau top (like a wee strap of material).

“Heading in the way of Northway bridge in Portadown the defendant has alleged to have pushed and shoved the victim and while standing on the bridge, the defendant is alleged to have grabbed her with both arms forcing the victim to look face first over the bridge whilst saying “I am going to f***ing kill you. I am going to push you over the bridge. I don’t care. I will do the jail time for murder and be with my uncle. The victim said she believed the defendant and begged for him to stop. She was petrified.”

“Both parties have then crossed the bridge and the victim has sat down on a nearby bus stop, where the defendant has threatened to shove her through the bus shelter. With his left hand he is alleged to have punched her in the face, hitting her right eye and causing bruising and swelling.

“Both parties have continued walking towards Lurgan when the victim was sat on a tree trunk where it is alleged the defendant has wiped his knuckles on her light grey bandeau causing blood stains. He has forced her to clean his hands with her top. That is the allegation of criminal damage.”

A nearby family friend alerted police and she was brought to her mother’s home where she spoke with police.

Police arrested the defendant in Craigavon and when searched police found suspected cannabis. On May 9 he was interviewed and made ‘no comment’ responses but did admit to the possession of the Class B drug which he claimed was for personal use.

Police noted the defendant had cuts to his knuckles and a black right eye. He refused to say how he sustained the injuries.

Opposing bail the officer said: “The victim has been assessed as a high risk victim of domestic abuse. She is a juvenile and police deem her as vulnerable.

“She has subsequently made a withdrawal statement to police. Police believe she is frightened of the defendant and his family.

“The defendant has an extensive domestic history. He does have convictions for domestic offences on his record but not this victim.”

Police objected to the bail address provided as both residents have drugs convictions and mental health issues.

Whitla’s barrister said this was an address that his client frequently lived at and has a calming influence.

Judge Rosemary Watters said: “It doesn’t sound too calming to me.”

She said she was concerned about a ‘vulnerable victim’ and the commission of further offences.

Whitla was remanded in custody until June 4.

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