Belfast Telegraph

Bail breach ‘caused by ex-boxer’s depression’

Former world boxing champion Eamonn Magee is sometimes forced to “lock himself away from the world” due to depression, the High Court heard yesterday.

A lawyer for the 39-year-old said his mental health problems mean there are days when he cannot leave the house.

Details were given of the illness afflicting Magee, who was also said to be on incapacity benefits, to explain a breach of bail which led to him being returned to custody.

The ex-WBU welterweight title holder, of Eskdale Gardens, Belfast, is facing charges of breaching a non-molestation order and harassing his ex-partner Maria Magill.

He is alleged to have sent a series of unwanted text messages and threatening phone calls to her last March.

Crown counsel Nicola Auret said it was claimed in one call that Magee told her to “watch her house” and that she would “never sleep again”. However, the court was told that Ms Magill has since withdrawn her complaint against him.

It was claimed that she was unlikely to ever give evidence against her ex-partner, who denies the charges.

With Magee's legal team also disputing the legitimacy of the non-molestation order, the case is set to be contested this month.

He had been released on bail, but was brought back into custody after failing to sign with police on December 28.

The former boxer, known as The Terminator during a career which included 33 fights, was arrested at a PSNI station when he went there the following day to meet the requirement.

His counsel told the court Magee said he had been too unwell to sign with police.

The court heard how he has suffered from mental health problems, depression and anxiety for a long time.

“There are days when he really can't leave the house and locks himself away from the world,” the barrister said.

“That is the reason why he did not attend on the 28th, but did seek to remedy the situation on the 29th and did attend as he was required to do.”

The judge, Mr Justice Weatherup, ruled that Magee could be released again on bail after pointing out that no known attempt had been made to contact Ms Magill.

Magee was ordered to stay at another address in Belfast and banned from drinking.

Although a night-time curfew was imposed, the ex-fighter was given permission to attend boxing events and continue his voluntary coaching work.

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