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Knife man who said Catholics going to hell is harmless, court told

A sixty-seven year old Dungannon man caught with a knife in a charity shop told police he had the item for his own protection whilst going around “doing good works.”

Described by his defence as “harmless” the defendant refused to state his name in court, and accused a court official of working for the press who had reported his case on the previous occasion.

Thomas Irwin Parr of Church Mews was arrested after police were called to the Drop Inn Ministries at Carland Road, Dungannon on the afternoon 4.30pm of 20 March to a report he was brandishing a knife.

Officers searched Parr and recovered the knife secreted in the waistband of his trousers.

He was asked what he had been doing and claimed he was doing God’s work, stating, “I am traveling about the area doing good works telling Roman Catholics they are going to hell.”

Officers further enquired why he had the knife to which he said, “I have lost confidence in society to protect me.”

On being taken to custody and charged, Parr replied after caution, “There’s no use in saying anything.”

The case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports.

On return to Dungannon Magistrates Court Parr appeared in the public gallery and whilst he came forward for his case, he refused to confirm his identity, snapping at court staff, “I am not telling you my name.”

A defence solicitor confirmed his client’s identity and in relation to the charge, accepted his guilt.

He said, “My client is sorry, but he has lost all confidence in the powers that be. He is a harmless man and no threat to the community,”

But District Judge Amanda Brady remarked, “I hear what you say but it’s still worrying to have someone walking the streets with a knife and particularly in that frame of mind.”

Imposing a fine of £150 Judge Brady said, “I sincerely hope this will not be repeated.”

A destruction order was granted in respect of the seized knife.

On leaving the court, Parr remonstrated with a member of court staff, accusing her of being was a member of the press, until he was escorted out by his solicitor.

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