A restaurateur who admitted threatening to kill his wife, possessing a kitchen knife with intent and assaulting her, has been given a six-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and placed on probation for 18 months.
Louis Raphael McLoughlin (55) admitted committing the offences against his wife Caroline in their then family home at Limavady Road in the Waterside area of the city on June 2 last year.
Defence barrister Stephen Mooney told District Judge Barney McElholm at Londonderry Magistrates Court that McLoughlin said: “It was terrible. I am so sorry. There was no justification for the way I behaved.”
Mr Mooney said that McLoughlin was “ruined financially and drinking heavily at the time of his offending after his business, which employed a considerable number of people, simply went bust”.
“He is now in the process of rebuilding his business from the ground,” the barrister added.
“He accepts full responsibility for his actions, which he himself has described as ‘madness’.”
A prosecution solicitor told the court that police responded to an emergency call from McLoughlin's home last June.
The caller stated that McLoughlin was armed with a knife and was holding his wife against her will.
The police had to force their way into the house because the front and back doors were locked.
Inside they saw McLoughlin's wife, who had a cut and several bruises and who told them “he has got a knife”.
The prosecutor said McLoughlin was ordered to come down the stairs with his hands above his head.
He was arrested, placed in a police car and a subsequent house search uncovered a kitchen knife.
The solicitor said the entire incident lasted about an hour.
The District Judge said he was prepared to treat the case, which was a serious matter, as a one-off event.
He also said he took into consideration McLoughlin's clear record for similar offences.
The businessman is well-known in the north west and has been involved in several restaurants and takeaway food outlets.
He was involved in the Hillbilly’s Fried Chicken franchise operation which had eight outlets in Derry.
It is thought Mr McLoughlin and his wife have now separated.