A Markethill man who threatened to smash a woman’s face with a Buckfast bottle has been sentenced to five months in prison.
Sean Anthony Joseph Taylor, of Bunker Hill, appeared before Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry Courthouse on Tuesday, via videolink from Maghaberry.
The 34-year-old was charged with two counts of common assault, one count of breach of restraining order and one count of threats to kill, relating to an incident on February 13 this year.
He was further charged with threats to kill, breach of a restraining order and persistent improper use of communications causing anxiety.
These charges relate to an incident which occurred on February 23 this year.
Informing the court that the defendant wished to plead guilty to all matters, a defence solicitor said that a pre-sentence report was not sought as the defendant has a “very significant record”.
For the threats to kill charges, Taylor was asked if he wished to go for trial by jury, or be dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court. He was also asked to enter his plea.
He replied “this court” and “guilty”.
The court was told that on February 13 this year, police were tasked to Newry Street in Markethill in response to a domestic incident.
On arriving, the injured party alleged that she was at the defendant’s address when he became aggressive and “called her a tramp and lifted a bottle of Buckfast over his shoulder saying he would smash it in her face”. He then swung the bottle toward her, stopping before he came to her face.
She then left the address and went to a nearby address, where the defendant followed her. He is alleged to have again threatened her with another bottle after appearing to have calmed down.
The defendant, who was located in the downstairs toilet of this address, was subject to bail conditions, one of which was not to contact the injured party. He was also subject to a restraining order.
He was arrested and interviewed, where he denied the allegations.
Ten days after the initial allegation, on February 23, police received a report from the same injured party stating that the defendant had phoned her and was threatening to kill her. Before police could speak to her in person, they received a call from the defendant stating: “I’m going to kill her.”
Police feared this threat may be carried out and he was arrested.
The injured party provided a statement alongside screenshots of text messages and phone calls made to her by the defendant.
He was further arrested in custody for the offences.
During interview, he admitted that he had phoned police but said that he was drunk and stated that the injured party had been contacting him.
A defence solicitor told the court that it was a “difficult case” given the defendant’s record.
He said that the defendant, who had been in custody since February 23, had difficulties with chronic alcoholism and “very significant” mental health difficulties.
The defence added that the injured party had initiated contact with him and that they had “quite a complex relationship”. He stated that the threats had been made to police, rather than directly to the injured party.
Deputy District Judge Kennedy described the cases as “appalling incidents”.
He sentenced Taylor to a total of five months in custody, and imposed a restraining order for a period of two years.
Speaking from Maghaberry, before sentencing, Taylor said the incident was “uncalled for” but added: “I’ve never laid a hand on this woman here.”
“I may have threatened her but it blew out of proportion. I suffer from real mental health problems. It doesn’t excuse it, it shouldn’t have happened, but I flew off the handle. I’m sick of her contacting me.
“I’m only after burying my two parents this last six years….I’ve nearly no family support.”