Belfast Telegraph

Man who shouted 'Jimmy Savile' at teachers and threw rocks jailed

By Staff Reporter

A man who lobbed stones at teachers and yelled abuse, including a reference to 'Jimmy Savile', during a school sports day being held at St Louis Grammar School in Ballymena - beside his home - has been given a four months jail term.

Gary Mairs (41), of Carndale Meadows, Ballymena, entered the grounds of the school - which shares a site with St Colmcille's Primary School - in June last year at a time when hundreds of St Louis pupils were taking part in their annual sports day.

Pupils were rushed to safety in the Assembly Hall but after police were called the sports day resumed later the same day.

Last year Mairs admitted three charges - two of disorderly behaviour and one of assault - arising out of the incident and was given a suspended sentence, put on probation and ordered to do community service.

The matter was also deferred for a year, until Thursday, to see if Mairs could stay out of trouble but, it emerged, he had subsequently appeared at Belfast Court.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Court on Thursday that during the St Louis incident, Mairs had thrown stones at staff and also shouted remarks including "Jimmy Savile", "perverts", "paedophiles", "bloody fenians" and that the Catholic Church was occupied by "perverts".

He entered the grounds and continued with his insults.

When spoken to by police at his home, which backed on to the school grounds, he told officers he threw stones "because a drone was being flown over his house".

A previous court heard the drone was being used by the school to film the sports day.

The prosecutor said that during a later police interview Mairs said he had been sunbathing and "having a few beers" when he became aware of the drone and had gone to the school to "remonstrate" with staff about it.

Mairs told police he was concerned about the safety of the pupils in case the footage was uploaded to the internet.

During the interview, Mairs admitted calling staff names like "perverts" and "paedophiles" and said he had thrown stones to attract the attention of teachers.

The prosecutor said the incident was perceived to be a "hate crime".

Defence barrister Stephen Law said his client's actions had been "totally disgraceful" and said he was so intoxicated at the time that something as innocuous as the flying of a drone led to him behaving as he did in front of children and he "apologises profusely".

Mr Law said Mairs had struggled with alcohol addiction but had been off drink for three weeks and was completing an addictions programme.

The barrister said his client accepted he had breached the deferral period by re-offending.

He said his client was a primary carer for his mother and said alcohol was an illness which needed treatment.

Mr Law asked the court to put Mairs "to the test" and impose a suspended sentence.

District Judge Peter King said a probation report said Mairs was at a high risk of re-offending.

The judge said it was a "deeply unsavoury" case with a "sectarian element" and said the matter had been deferred to allow Mairs to show he could be of good behaviour but he had re-offended.

Imposing a four-month jail term, Judge King said had the offences not been motivated by sectarianism the sentence would have been three months.

Mairs was released on his own bail of £750 for appeal.

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