A 77-year-old man has appeared in court accused of trying to kill his neighbour with a bayonet.

Billy Passmore was charged with attempted murder after a man was stabbed in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim.

The alleged knife attack occurred at a block of flats in the Rathcoole Close area on Saturday night.

A man in his sixties was taken to hospital with serious injuries, according to police.

Mr Passmore, of Rathcoole Close, is also charged with possessing an offensive weapon - namely a bayonet - with intent to commit an indictable offence.

He faces a third count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm to another man in the same incident.

Appearing at Belfast Magistrates' Court on Monday, the pensioner confirmed that he understood the charges.

Although no further details about the alleged offences were disclosed, defence solicitor Stephen McCann said there was a 'tragic' background.He described Passmore as 'an extremely forthright man'.

Mr McCann added: "I don't intend to rehearse the circumstances, but I haven't seen a police officer cry in an interview until yesterday.

"This is a most unusual case."

During the hearing District Judge Fiona Bagnall stressed Mr Passmore can not be released to live at his own home.

"The problem is it's in the same block of flats," she said.

Bail was granted, however, if the accused finds another address approved by police.

He is to be banned from entering the Rathcoole area and must not contact any witnesses in the case.

Mr Passmore will appear back in court in four weeks time. ends