Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Former soldier threatened youths with replica pistol

An ex-soldier brandished an imitation pistol amid fears he was about to be attacked by loyalist paramilitaries, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors said Mark Hamill (40), took the replica Glock weapon from a safe at his home in Knockwood Park, Belfast after tensions flared in the area.

Hamill, a former corporal with the Royal Logistics Corp, faces a charge of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

He was arrested after police were told a man had a gun at nearby shop fronts on July 11.

The court was told Hamill had been rowing with his partner when a group of youths confronted him.

Crown counsel Kate McKay said the accused claimed he was told they were going to get the UVF “to do him in”.

Fearing his life was in |danger, he took the imitation Glock from his flat to protect himself, it was claimed.

However, the weapon was taken from him before the crowd launched an attack, breaking his nose.

Although Hamill was previously bailed to live with his brother in Donaghadee, he was seeking High Court |permission to return to his home address.

Defence barrister Gavin Duffy claimed a PM1 death threat notice served on his client during the trouble was no longer so serious.

“The tensions that arose |on the night of July 11 aren't always the same tensions that arise the rest of the year,” he said.

Mr Duffy also revealed that Hamill had served in the forces for 16 years until his retirement in 2001.

“He is not somebody who is without a considerable degree of experience in terms of assessing situations and reacting to them,” he added.

Hamill's application to vary his bail address was granted by Lord Justice Higgins.

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