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Man allegedly offered to sell sawn-off shotgun to children at bonfire site, High Court hears

By Alan Erwin

Published 20/01/2016

A man allegedly fired a sawn-off shotgun and offered to sell it to children at a bonfire site in Belfast, the High Court heard today.

Simon Larmour also threatened to cut off a police officer's feet during a struggle to arrest him at the scene, prosecutors claimed.

The 26-year-old is charged with possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and discharging it in public.

Further counts against him include having a loaded gun while drunk, and assault on police.

Larmour, of Rathvarna Drive in Lisburn, was granted bail but banned from taking any alcohol.

He was arrested near a bonfire site on Beverley Street in the Shankill area on July 2 last year.

The court heard Larmour was with a Lithuanian woman in the park area to continue a heavy drinking session.

A prosecution lawyer alleged that he approached children at the bonfire and offered to sell them a shotgun produced from his co-accused's handbag.

Parents and other residents in the area were alerted, being told a man had fired two shots into the air.

Members of the community restrained him until police arrived and located the weapon, according to the prosecutor.

She claimed: "During his arrest Mr Larmour struggled violently, and threatened to burn down the constable's house and cut off his feet."

The defendant later told police his co-accused had discovered the gun in a bin while she was relieving herself.

He claimed to have put it in her handbag and told her to take it back where she found it, fearing it belonged to paramilitaries.

During interviews he denied trying to sell the weapon to children - described in court as being teenagers.

He also refuted any suggestion that he said he wanted to "shoot Taigs" or that a shoulder injury was caused by discharging the gun in the Divis Estate.

Defence counsel described it as a bizarre incident.

Referring to the alleged discovery in a bin, he suggested: "Sometimes the most implausible (explanation) might just be the case."

Police checks have so far yielded negative results for shots being fired in the area, the barrister added.

Granting bail, His Honour Judge Lynch ordered Larmour to stay at a bed and breakfast accommodation in Ballymena, Co Antrim.

The accused must abide by a curfew, electronic tagging and report to police daily.

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