Belfast Telegraph

Man who threatened to wreck car showroom armed with a mallet after failing MOT is found guilty

By Alan Erwin

A man was found guilty today of threatening to wreck a car showroom armed with a mallet after failing his MOT.

Darren McAllister was also convicted of disorderly behaviour and assaults on two members of staff at Charles Hurst in south Belfast.

The 33-year-old, of Kings Road in the city, will be sentenced next month.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he turned up at the Boucher Road complex last September asking to speak to a mechanic who worked on his car.

The vehicle had failed its MOT the previous day, with McAllister claiming wheel nuts were not put on properly and a rear seatbelt left twisted.

It was alleged that he took a mallet out of a bag and set it on a desk in front of one member of staff.

Allegations of going "nose to nose" with a manager were also made.

A prosecution lawyer claimed his intention was to put staff in fear of violence if he didn't get what he wanted.

McAllister was then said to have moved on to a second Charles Hurst site.

A prosecution lawyer put it to him: "You were shouting that you were going to wreck the showroom. Is that correct."
McAllister replied: "Absolutelty not."

The defendant faced charges of threats to damage property, possession of an offensive weapon in public, disorderly behaviour and two counts of common assault.

He denied having a mallet with him, insisting that all he had been carrying was an umbrella due to the stormy weather.

McAllister told defence counsel Richard McConkey he went to the showroom due to concerns that his children would be travelling in a car that may not be dangerous.

"They are supposed to be qualified mechanics. You think with Charles Hurst you're going to get a first class service," he said.

According to the defendant a full check could not have been carried out before he bought the unspecified car. 

He claimed to have sat down at a member of staff's desk and said to him: "You could have killed my kids. Who did the work on my car?"

McAllister insisted, however: "I was speaking calmly."

A police officer called to the showroom said he appeared calm but had told her he was "furious" about what had happened.

On completion of the evidence Mr McConkey argued that some of the charges could not be sustained.

The barrister contended there was nothing to show one of the alleged victims had been put in fear of violence.

However, District Judge Ken Nixon ruled: "This defendant is convicted of all complaints before the court."

McAllister will return in four weeks time to be sentenced.

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