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Knife-wielding man who threatened ex-wife avoids jail

By Nevin Farrell

Published 14/09/2016

Paul McCullough leaves Antrim Magistrates Court yesterday
Paul McCullough leaves Antrim Magistrates Court yesterday
Laura McCullough with boyfriend Darren Coney outside the court

A woman from Antrim town and her partner were forced to flee a house after her ex-husband threatened them with the UDA in a row over her moving to Co Tyrone.

Paul William McCullough (45), of Aird Close in the town's Stiles estate, had denied charges arising out of an incident at nearby Firfields in April this year.

However, District Judge Alan White found him guilty of all four charges, including threatening to kill Laura McCullough's partner Darren Coney with a Stanley knife.

McCullough was also convicted on charges of breaching a non-molestation order regarding his ex-wife, assaulting Mr Coney and possession of a blade in a public place.

McCullough was given an eight-month prison term, suspended for three years, at Antrim Magistrates Court yesterday.

Ms McCullough said she and her boyfriend were at her Firfields home on April 25 when McCullough arrived at the door.

She said her ex-husband starting calling her a "tramp" and saying she wouldn't be taking their three children out of Antrim.

She told her ex-husband to address the matter through solicitors, but said he told her he didn't "give a s***" about solicitors or courts and would be doing the talking there and then.

Ms McCullough said her ex-husband then said he was "going to make a phone call" to get a "few friends" to come round, and she said she took that to mean paramilitaries.

She said it frightened her, and Mr Coney said "we need to get out of here" after seeing McCullough speaking on his mobile phone in his van outside.

As they were leaving the estate she claimed her ex-husband blocked her car in, got out a Stanley knife and lunged towards her partner, who had got out of his own car nearby.

Mr Coney told the court that at the door of the house he asked McCullough to calm down, but in response he was called a "Fenian f*****" and was told by the defendant he had "a few friends in the UDA who will wish to have a word with you". He said McCullough also shouted another threat regarding the UDA through the letterbox when the door had been slammed shut.

Mr Coney said to his partner they had better get out of the house "in case that was a real threat".

At the estate exit he said the defendant came towards him with the knife and swiped at him while saying: "I'm going to f****** kill you now."

Mr Coney said he punched McCullough twice in the face in self-defence, knocking him to the ground.

McCullough told the court that he went to his ex-wife's house to ask her why she was "moving my three children under 10 away from family and friends, football, Girls' Brigade and everything they knew".

He said he told his wife she was "being quite selfish" before leaving.

He denied making any threats to her.

He said he decided to try to return to speak to his ex-wife on her own, and denied making a lunge with a knife.

McCullough claimed that when he met his ex-wife leaving the estate Mr Coney got out of a car and hit him with a "straight right to the face" before proceeding to "jump about like an absolute lunatic", but he was able to get in the van and left.

Belfast Telegraph

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