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Arrested man told police officers: 'I hope you die like Ronan Kerr'

By Eamonn MacDermott

Published 31/12/2015

A man who told police
A man who told police "I hope you die like Ronan Kerr' has been given a suspended sentence at Limavady Magistrates' Court

A man who told police "I hope you die like Ronan Kerr' has been given a suspended sentence at Limavady Magistrates' Court.

Mark Olphert (35) of Madison Avenue in Eglinton outside Londonderry made the remarks during an incident on August 6 this year.

The court was told that on that date police had reason to arrest Olphert.

As they did so he began to struggle and became abusive to police, calling them 'black b------s' and 'fenian b------s'.

He then made the remark about the death of Constable Kerr, who was killed by a dissident republican bomb attached to his car.

Once inside a police van he began to spit.

When cautioned for the offences he repeated the remark about the dead police officer.

During interview Olphert was said to be aggressive and a prosecuting solicitor said that the offences were aggravated by hostility.

Defence barrister Nicki Rountree said the comments made the offences much more serious than they would otherwise have been.

She said her client had been in "an extremely stressful situation" at the time and felt that the police presence was unnecessary.

She said he was "deeply embarrassed" by the comments and that he would maintain he was not sectarian in any way.

District judge Liam McNally said that the appropriate sentence for this offence was one of five months in prison and his only dilemma was whether that should be immediate or suspended.

The judge said the comments were "appalling" and had referred both to religion and the violent death of Const Kerr.

He said the fact there was nothing sectarian in Olphert's record and the fact that he had apologised to police meant he would suspend the sentence.

Olphert was given a five-month prison sentence suspended for three years.

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