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Man allegedly attacked and threatened to kill his sister 'by Christmas', court hears

By Alan Erwin

Published 14/11/2016

He is accused of targeting his sister on New Street in Sion Mills on November 3.
He is accused of targeting his sister on New Street in Sion Mills on November 3.

A man allegedly attacked and threatened to kill his sister "by Christmas" before barricading himself into a house with a rope round his neck, the High Court has heard.

David Gallagher pushed a wardrobe down a flight of stairs at his home in Sion Mills, Co Tyrone as police tried to get to him, prosecutors claimed.

Details emerged as the 51-year-old was refused bail due to the risk of re-offending.

Gallagher, of Parkside Gardens in the village, denies charges of assault and two counts of threats to kill.

He is accused of targeting his sister on New Street in Sion Mills on November 3.

Prosecution counsel said: "He followed her and he shouted to her that she was going to be dead by Christmas."

Further threats were issued before Gallagher punched her to the side of the face, leaving her dazed and in pain, it was alleged.

Describing the accused as "unpredictable, dangerous and volatile", the barrister detailed two separate bids by police to arrest him at his home.

Officers aborted the first attempt amid unsubstantiated concerns he was pointing something resembling a gun.

They returned with specialist firearms personnel to discover Gallagher standing at an upstairs window, the court heard.

"He had barricaded himself in the house and he had a rope around his neck," the prosecutor said.

"Police attempted to approach, but he pushed a wardrobe from the top of the stairs on top of police officers making their way up."

Gallagher was eventually detained after the officer in charge shouted that he had CS spray and pledged to hold up the furniture so his colleagues could get to the first floor.

Defence counsel said his client has a history of mental health issues and completely denies his sister's allegations.

"He says this complaint is fabricated," the barrister added.

Although Gallagher lives just minutes from his sister's home, Mrs Justice Keegan was told no other address is available.

Refusing bail, she ruled: "I could not manage the high risks in this case by the imposition of conditions."

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