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Man who chased cousin with metal bar after family feud handed suspended sentence

The deputy district judge remarked: 'All too easily these family feuds are started and all too easily they are settled with the use of bars, slashers, bill hooks and even on occasion chainsaws...'

Armagh Courthouse

An Armagh man who chased his cousin with a metal bar after a family feud has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Sentencing the 28-year-old, the deputy district judge said: “All too easily these family feuds are started and all too easily they are settled with the use of bars, slashers, bill hooks and even on occasion chainsaws, which I have experienced in my 40 years as a solicitor.”

Stephen Lawrence Maughan, of Callanbridge Park, appeared for sentencing on five charges at the city’s Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday.

The defendant was charged with criminal damage, common assault, threats to kill, possession of an offensive weapon in a public place and improper use of public communications.

Prosecution outlined that on September 26, at 9am, police received a report that several members of the Maughan family were gathered outside the reporting person’s home in Callanbridge Park, Armagh.

The injured party stated that the defendant and another male had arrived at his home by foot.

Maughan had taken a metal bar, approximately three foot in length, from the victim’s van and began chasing him around the vehicle.

The defendant then proceeded to smash the windscreen and driver side window of the van, before the second male took the bar from him and placed it back in the van.

According to the injured party, Maughan uttered the words “you’re dead” before walking away from the scene.

Police seized CCTV which showed the incident as described. The injured party suffered no injury and was not struck during this.

Officers searched the area but were unable to locate the defendant.

They were later contacted by his solicitor who indicated his client would hand himself into a police station but this failed to happen on three occasions.

On October 1, the injured party received a phone call from Maughan in which he said he would cut him with a Stanley knife.

The defendant was arrested by police on October 13 and during interview made full admissions to the offences.

Defence barrister Richard McConkey stated: “The most significant point is the timing of the plea. As the prosecution have pointed out, he admitted everything at the police station.”

Mr McConkey outlined that the hold-up in entering a plea had been the preparation of a full file, with his client spending two months on remand in custody before being granted bail.

He added: “This was his cousin… this was simply a family falling out and nothing more sinister than that.”

Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer stated: “This was a serious attack on your cousin, I don’t know why and I don’t want to know. You both identify as members of the Traveller Community.

“All too easily these family feuds are started and all too easily they are settled with the use of bars, slashers, bill hooks and even on occasion chainsaws, which I have experienced in my 40 years as a solicitor.”

He added: “You have 96 entries on your criminal record, you have been in custody before and you have been involved in possession of offensive weapon and serious assault before.”

Maughan was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for 18 months.

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