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Accused in Derry beheading threat case denied bail

By Alan Erwin

Published 27/01/2016

A knife-wielding customer threatened to subject a taxi dispatcher to an IS-style beheading, the High Court has heard
A knife-wielding customer threatened to subject a taxi dispatcher to an IS-style beheading, the High Court has heard

A knife-wielding customer threatened to subject a taxi dispatcher to an IS-style beheading, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors claimed the man has been left in "extreme fear" after being targeted by Michael Coyle on three separate occasions.

Coyle (33), of Virginia Court in the Gobnascale area of Londonderry, is charged with making threats to kill, possession of a bladed article and an offensive weapon in public, and intimidating a witness.

During a failed application for bail it was alleged he first threatened the taxi worker with a knife and spanner on Christmas Day.

Prosecution counsel said the defendant went into a depot close to his home, produced the blade and started acting aggressively towards the alleged victim.

"He said: 'I will slice you, I'm just like ISIS, I will behead you'," the barrister claimed.

Coyle then allegedly made slashing motions with the knife before taking out the spanner and telling the man he was going to "smash" and beat him with it.

Two days later the accused phoned the depot to apologise and ask if the dispatcher was going to retract his statement, a judge was told. "He then made threats to the complainant to cut off his head in front of everyone," the barrister added. A third alleged incident involved another menacing phone call on January 20.

The accused denies making threats and claimed to have little memory of the incidents as he had been drinking.

Refusing bail, Judge Lynch said: "My primary concern has to be in relation to the injured party in this case being subjected to threats on three separate occasions at the hands of this man."

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