Belfast Telegraph

Man 'threatened to burn neighbours out after refusing demands for beer' court hears

A man allegedly threatened to burn his neighbours out after they refused his demands for beer, the High Court heard today.

Martin Rea then attacked police and tried to get the alleged victims to withdraw their statements of complaint, according to the prosecution.

The 24-year-old, described by his lawyer as coming from a privileged background, faces a total of 10 charges.

They include criminal damage, threats to damage property, three counts each of assault on police and resisting arrest, and two charges of intimidation of a witness.

The alleged offences relate to an incident near his home at Weir Lane, Ballynahinch, Co Down on August 24.

Opposing his bail application, a prosecution barrister claimed Rea went to his neighbours in a drunken state and demanded beer.

"When they refused he issued threats, destroyed items of garden furniture and household items and threatened to burn the occupants out," the lawyer said.

He allegedly assaulted police called out to the scene and kicked out at a cell van door.

It was further claimed that he returned a day later and asked the complainants to withdraw their statements, in breach of release conditions.

According to the prosecution Rea then went missing, only surrendering himself eight days later.

He claimed to have no memory of what happened but wanted to apologise to the neighbours.

Defence counsel Conor O'Kane said Rea had gone to them the second time to shake hands, but at no stage tried to intimidate them.

He said "the message has finally got through" to his client after being held in custody.

Mr O'Kane told how the accused worked in his father's steel business, adding: "He comes from a privileged background. One might say he's been indulged over the years."

The bail application was adjourned for more information to be supplied to the court.

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