Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

'You're going to die tonight' - Belfast knifeman invoked Satan to kill arresting officers

A man who lunged at motorists with a kitchen knife told police officers he would sell his soul to Satan in return for their deaths, a court has heard.

Ian Braniff said he would pray for the outcome and claimed it was “Lucifer's will” after being chased and caught in north Belfast.

The 25-year-old, of Glenbank Place in the city, received a suspended five-month jail sentence after admitting possession of a blade in public, disorderly behaviour, criminal damage and assault on police.

Braniff was seen carrying a knife and walking back and forth on the Limestone Road on March 3, making slashing motions at motorists who swerved or braked to avoid him, Belfast Magistrates Court was told.

Two police officers pursued and detained him at Mountcollyer Road. By that stage he had dropped the knife.

Prosecutors said he was put into a police vehicle and began shouting abuse.

The court heard he told the officers: “I'll pray to Satan tonight. I'll sell my soul for you two f****** to die. You're going to die tonight.”

Further abusive remarks, insults and references to Satan were directed at the officers and Braniff also forced himself to vomit over the inside of the vehicle.

Defence barrister Jonathan Connolly accepted his client's behaviour was “absolutely horrific”. He told the court: “This was a terrible thing for either police officer to have to face.”

Braniff, who has a history of cannabis abuse and behavioural problems, claimed to have little memory of the incident.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall gave Braniff credit for pleading guilty to all of the charges at the first opportunity.

Braniff was sentenced to five months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £100 compensation to the officer he assaulted.

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