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Defendant held knife to partner’s chest before saying: ‘Both of us have to die together’

A man who threatened to kill himself and his partner at the time has been handed a community service sentence.

A judge told the 29-year-old that he “just about avoided immediate custody”.

Andrew Brian Liggett, of Dee Street, Belfast pleaded guilty to threats to kill and common assault and Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

It was heard that on June 24, at around 9.45pm, police were called to a domestic disturbance in the Lurgan area.

The injured party stated that she had been drinking with her partner – the defendant – when they had an argument.

She said Liggett had pushed her against a kitchen door and put his hand around her neck choking her for five seconds.

He then held a knife against her chest, and when she tried to grab her phone to call her mum, Liggett knocked it out of her hands.

The injured party struck the defendant several times in order to get herself free.

Liggett then made a threat to kill himself and stated: “Both of us have to die together”.

Eventually, the injured party sat with the defendant and got him to calm down.

While the defendant went to grab her a glass of water the injured party made off to a neighbour’s house where she contacted police.

When arrested, Liggett made no reply.

During interview, the defendant claimed that both he and his partner suffered from depression.

Defence barrister Conor Lunny stated: “I accept this is a very negative light and Mr Liggett is aware of the sentencing on domestic offences.”

He added that the defendant maintains that he had only been in possession of the knife to stop his partner “doing something silly”.

Mr Lunny informed the court: “The relationship has now ended, Mr Liggett is not a Craigavon local and he has returned to east Belfast.”

He continued, saying: “We are thankful that this did not escalate. This offence is aggravated by the relationship and the threat to kill.

“But in his plea, Mr Liggett had prevented the injured party from having to come to court.”

Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes stated: “I am not impressed by your denials to probation about the offences.

“You have just about avoided immediate custody, but you were very close.”

Liggett was ordered to pay compensation of £500 to the injured party and sentenced to a combination order. This included 100 hours of community service and 12 months of probation.

Judge Holmes also put in place a three-year restraining order in regards to the injured party.

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