A loyalist who made a 999 call to threaten Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson had been on a drinking spree, a court has heard.
Darren Scott, 34, from Croft Court in east Belfast, had consumed 12 pints of cider and a number of bottles of WKD when he made the telephone call to the emergency services on Wednesday.
The unemployed father of four was remanded in custody after appearing at Newtownards Magistrates' Court. He was charged with threatening to kill Peter Robinson and improper use of an electronic communications network.
PSNI Detective Constable Owen Nevin said he believed there was evidence linking the accused to the charges. He revealed that Scott had made two 999 calls which were 40 minutes apart. In one, he claimed responsibility for the attempted murder of a female police officer whose patrol car was petrol bombed as it was parked outside the offices of under-threat Alliance Party MP Naomi Long on November 10.
DC Nevin told the court: "There was no other evidence to back up the claim." However, the detective said there was evidence of clear intent when Scott threatened in another call to kill the DUP leader and First Minister.
Scott was arrested at his home after spelling out his full name and address for the 999 call handlers. The court heard how he had been drinking at two bars in Belfast city centre and continued his alcoholic binge at a friend's house where he consumed 10 pints of cider. It was claimed that the relationship with the mother of his children had broken down and that he made the calls because he wanted to be jailed. DC Nevin added: "He wanted to go to prison were the words he used."
Meanwhile, defence solicitor Pat Kelly said there was no application for bail as his client was already on bail for riotous assembly at the Ardoyne flashpoint in north Belfast on July 12. Scott was remanded in custody and is due to appear in court in Belfast via videolink on January 8.
The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), which was one of the parties that voted to limit flying the flag at City Hall, said one of its Assembly members had also received a death threat. South Belfast MLA Conall McDevitt said the warning was posted to him. "The police are investigating a specific threat against me," said the representative, who has been outspoken on the flag issue. "This will not deter me from representing the people of South Belfast and working for an inclusive, peaceful and prosperous society."
Meanwhile, Guy Spence - Northern Ireland's youngest councillor - has also received a death threat. A telephone call was made to Belfast City Hall on Thursday afternoon and was transferred to the 20-year-old Democratic Unionist who represents a ward in the north of the city. Dissident republicans were believed to have been behind the threat.
A DUP spokesman said: "He is obviously concerned but he won't be put off his council work. Guy Spence has work to do and he will just get on with it." Mr Spence was among a number of elected representatives whose cars were vandalised when loyalist protesters tried to storm Belfast City Hall after the controversial decision to restrict flying the Union flag was taken on December 3.