A mother has been left with a circular hole in her skull when she was attacked with a drill during a suspected homophobic attack, a court heard today.
Brenda McLaughlin, 38, has told police she believes she was targeted because she is homosexual and it is being treated as a hate crime.
The alleged male attacker, 17, and Ms McLaughlin were at Ruby’s nightclub in Strabane, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, early on Saturday morning.
There was no evidence a drill bit was in place when the power tool was later recovered or after police checked security camera footage, a Police Service of Northern Ireland detective told Omagh Magistrates’ Court.
The alleged attacker is led out from Omagh Magistrates’ Court today. He is accused of unlawfully and maliciously causing grievous bodily harm to Brenda Mclaughlin (right)
The detective said: ‘It is my understanding that the victim has since told medical staff that she heard the noise of the drill and felt her head being twisted.’
The mother-of-one is currently recovering in a high-dependency unit in Altnagelvin Hospital.
The detective added: ‘There does appear to be some sort of hole in the skull but I cannot say how severe it is.’
The teenager, who was pictured leaving court today wearing a hooded blue tracksuit top and black trousers and trainers, is accused of having an offensive weapon, a power drill.
The 17-year-old is also accused of stealing a power drill belonging to Ruby’s nightclub in Strabane, Co Tyrone
He was taken to a waiting police van after the hearing today
He is also alleged to have unlawfully and maliciously caused grievous bodily harm to Ms McLaughlin or intended to do her GBH, and is further accused of stealing a power drill belonging to the nightclub.
A police patrol on Saturday night was alerted by members of the public that a woman was lying injured on the ground with blood coming from her head and lapsing in and out of consciousness. She was also having fits and seizures.
District Judge Peter King said it was a ‘grossly violent, inexplicably violent incident’.
The detective added: ‘The victim said she believed it was in relation to her homosexuality.’
An official mopped up the pool of blood left at the scene after the brutal attack
The accused told police he had homosexual relatives and did not bear any ill will, his solicitor Ciaran McGuinness said.
The victim was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry where her condition was initially life-threatening but later downgraded.
The officer said no damage had been caused to her brain but there was some form of ‘circular’ hole in her scalp.
‘However it does not appear to be deep.’
District Judge King said there was a risk to public protection and remanded the teenager in custody, to appear by video link at Strabane Magistrates’ Court on May 18.
The accused, wearing a tracksuit, appeared emotional and hugged his mother in the public gallery afterwards.