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Teen must not post about ex on social media, judge rules

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 22/08/2015

A 19-year-old student from Dunmurry who is accused of harassing his ex-girlfriend has been released on bail - but warned he is banned from posting anything about her on social media.

Neil McClurkin was granted High Court bail, but has been banned from using a mobile phone or laptop, apart from using a computer at college for his studies.

McClurkin, from Glenbank Drive, is facing charges of allegedly harassing his ex-girlfriend, and of making threats to kill.

It is the Crown's case that on one of these occasions he picked up a garden gnome and threw it at her front door.

The alleged injured party is home from university for the summer and lives within walking distance of the accused. Belfast's High Court heard the pair had been in a relationship that had subsequently ended.

Saying police were objecting to McClurkin being granted bail, a Crown barrister said the PSNI was called to the girl's house on August 1 following reports a male was threatening to stab an occupant and throwing items including a gnome at the property. This, the Crown said, left the girl "frightened and shaken."

When he was arrested and questioned about this, McClurkin said he had been drinking vodka before going to his ex-girlfriend's house to talk to her. During interview, the accused denied issuing threats.

He was subsequently released on bail, but the prosecutor said that on August 13 McClurkin is accused of sending threatening emails to the same girl. Saying she felt harassed by the contents of the emails, the prosecutor said he breached his bail conditions by sending the emails from his laptop.

McClurkin later told police he couldn't remember sending the texts as he had been drinking following a family funeral.

Telling Mr Justice Girvin that police were opposing to bail, the prosecutor spoke of fears that McClurkin will both reoffend and will interfere with his ex-girlfriend.

A barrister acting on McClurkin's behalf said his young client was from a good background, was a keen boxer, and came before the court with a clear criminal record.

Saying that his client was not a habitual drinker, the defence barrister said that on August 13 there was never any intention of him breaching bail by going to his ex's house - but rather he got drunk at the funeral, then came home and emailed her.

The barrister said: "Being nasty to people on email seems to be done by people who otherwise wouldn't be nasty to someone's face."

He also branded such behaviour as "inexcusable".

After hearing that McClurkin's mobile phone and laptop have been confiscated, Mr Justice Girvin said he was granting bail, but set down a number of conditions.

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