Attempted murder accused granted bail

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A woman was allegedly slashed and stabbed as she crouched outside her home in south Belfast, a court heard today.

Police said CCTV footage shows the suspected knife attack on the 31-year-old at Bendigo Street last Friday night.

Details emerged as Leanne Baxter, 34, appeared at the city’s magistrates’ court charged with her attempted murder.

Baxter, of Flush Park in Lisburn, also faces counts of possessing an offensive weapon with intent to commit murder, and handling stolen goods, namely a mobile phone.

Opposing bail, a detective claimed she has a tendency towards violence.

He said the alleged victim was assaulted after Baxter and two others known to her went to the address.

Video footage from a neighbour’s home “shows the defendant in a stabbing and slashing motion” as the injured party crouched on the ground, according to police.

A bloodied knife believed to be linked to the incident was later recovered.

Referring to Baxter’s current living arrangements outside the city, the detective also claimed: “It appears she has travelled to Belfast to carry out this attack.”

But defence barrister Michael Boyd argued that the accused, her daughter and another female were all invited to the alleged victim’s house.

He told the court they spent several hours drinking there before a dispute led to Baxter’s daughter being stabbed in the hand.

“This altercation spilled out onto Bendigo Street and was caught by a neighbour’s CCTV,” the barrister said.

“It’s a very serious and distressing case.”

Mr Boyd accepted there is evidence of an alleged incident on the ground, but described his client’s memory as “very patchy”.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall heard Baxter has struggled with alcohol issues since she was a teenager.

As the defendant’s background was set out she began to weep in the dock.

“This was one relapse; things were getting on top of her, she described cracking, taking a drink and ending up in this lady’s house,” Mr Boyd added.

Bail was granted on conditions including an alcohol prohibition.

Baxter was also excluded from entering Belfast and ordered to have no contact with the injured party or any witnesses.

Her case is due back in court on December 9.