A Co. Down woman wept in court on Tuesday as she was charged with trying to kill a man who was stabbed and slashed more than 30 times, possibly with a sword.

Sara Jane Nelson (22) cried continually throughout the hearing Newtownards Magistrates Court where she was charged with the attempted murder of Stephen Brander on 17 November this year and assaulting him on 24 October this year.

Nelson, from Windmill Gardens in Ballynahinch, confirmed she understood the two charges against her while a police officer gave evidence that she could connect Nelson to the charges.

She told the court that when police arrived at the scene on Sunday evening, they were confronted with Nelson lying on top of her alleged victim, pressing towels onto his bloody wounds.

The court heard that Mr Brander, who is being treated at the RVH, had sustained 33 stab and slash wounds to his head, hand, buttock, leg, face and anus.

The officer told the court Nelson claimed Mr Brander had arrived at her home with two men she did not know and he had demanded money from her before these two men allegedly attacked the victim outside the property.

Nelson further claimed she pulled Mr Brander inside “to protect him” but the officer outlined how police believe the attack happened inside the house as several rooms were blood-stained.

The constable revealed how clothing was retrieved from a washing machine that also had traces of blood in it and officers also seized a Samurai sword in it sheath.

Under cross examination from defence solicitor Chris Logue, the officer agreed that another man had been found in the living room who was “totally unresponsive” whether through alcohol or drugs.

Mr Logue submitted: “Police say they don't know if this 22-year-old girl used a samurai sword on this man 33 times.

"There were three men in the house with extensive records. Some of them have been in hospital since, because they took so many drugs."

Refusing to free a weeping Nelson however, District Judge Mark Hamill said her bail application was “entirely premature.”

Remanding her into custody to appear again at Downpatrick Magistrates Court on Thursday via videolink, the judge added it was an "evolving investigation.”

It is understood that a 26-year-old man has been released on police bail ending further enquiries while two other men, aged 40 and 20 respectively, remain in police custody.