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Armagh man threatened to burn down house of ex-partner handed 17 month prison sentence

Armagh Courthouse

An Armagh man who stubbed out a cigarette on his ex-partner and threatened to burn down a house she was in at the time has been sentenced to 17 months in custody.

Court heard the 23-year-old wished to appeal the sentence, speaking from the dock, he said: “I’m appealing the AOABH – that didn’t happen.”

Patrick McCann, of Culdee Street, was being sentenced for possession of an offensive weapon, disorderly behaviour, theft, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, threats to damage property , two counts of breaching a non-molestation order and improper use of communications at the City’s Magistrates’ on Monday.

It was heard that these offences were accrued over a number of incidents dating from June 2018, to April of this year.

On June 10, of 2018, the defendant presented himself at the front gate of the PSNI station in Armagh and shouted that he was going to kill someone in Drumarg before making off in the direction of Friary Road.

Officers located McCann on the Killylea Road, where he told police “f*** off, you b*******” before making off.

He was later found in the Drumarg estate but once more evaded officers telling them to “f*** off”.

McCann was located once more on Nursery Road, with a bottle of Buckfast in his possession.

The defendant proceeded to smash the bottle and hold a shard up to his neck before running off.

He was later found on Mullacreevie Green where he was arrested by police.

It was heard that on November 12, of last year, police were contacted by the defendant’s ex-partner who claimed she had received a threat from McCann to burn down a property.

She also alleged that on October 27, the defendant had arrived at her home uninvited and she had witnessed him stealing £25 from her purse.

The injured party claimed that McCann had also put out a cigarette on her left ankle.

She told police that in the threat the defendant made on November 12, he said: “‘I’m going to burn you and whoever is in that house out of it.”

McCann was subsequently arrested and made no reply to caution.

During interview, the defendant admitted to being at the injured party’s home on October 27, by invitation, but denied the offences.

He admitted to making a phone call to the injured party on November 12 but would not elaborate on what was said.

On February 19 this year, the injured party contacted police claiming she had received a letter from the defendant, who was in Maghaberry, which was in breach of a non-molestation order.

She claimed to have recognised the handwriting as being that of McCann.

The defendant was arrested in March 27 and made no commented during interview.

On April 20, this year, the defendant’s partner contacted police to say McCann had breached a non-molestation order by sending messages to her cousin.

One of these had been a Snapchat in which it was claimed there was a bomb in Keady outside the injured party’s home.

McCann was arrested and during interview suggested that someone had hacked into his Facebook account and that his ex-partner knew the password.

Defence barrister Scott McWhinney stated: “The pre-sentence report is of very little resistance; he is still denying any wrongdoing.

“Starting with the first offence, he was going through a period of poor mental health. He is charged with possession of an offensive weapon with which he only threatened himself.”

He continued: “This was a time of high stress for Mr McCann, he has to respect that this court has come to its judgement, he has spent some 36 weeks in custody according to my instructing solicitor.

“With the letter, Mr McCann had been trying to communicate with his son, he was told by the court he has every right to do this, but that should be done through social services.”

Mr McWhinney added: “Mr McCann has spent a considerable amount of time in custody, the attitude he has taken with regards to probation and community service is unhelpful.

“Upon his release he is hoping to go to work with his cousin as an electrician; this is a job he has previously held in the past.”

Deputy District Judge Sean O’Hare said: “I have noted from the pre-sentence report that this is a young man who has endured difficulties; he would be due sympathy from the court [but] this has been undone by his unwillingness to engage with probation and his lack of remorse.

“There are also a great number of suspended sentences which were in play at the time of these offences.”

Mr McWhinney stated: “All I can do is ask that the court considers staying its hand with regards to these matters.”

Deputy District Judge O’Hare said: “You have made a conscious choice to not engage with probation, these problems cannot be addressed if he buries his head in the sand.

“There are four sets of charges primarily targeted at an ex-partner with no reason, these came after the court gave him a chance with the imposition of suspended sentences and on top of that one them was committed whilst he was in prison.”

McCann was sentenced to nine months in prison for the offences before the court and a further eight months were invoked from suspended sentences making a total of 17 months.

Mr McWhinney made it clear that this would be appealed, and the defendant was granted bail pending this, but would remain in custody on other matters.

Speaking from the dock, McCann stated: “I’m appealing the AOABH – that didn’t happen.”

Judge O’Hare also imposed a restraining order with regards to the injured party for a period of two years.

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