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Teenager who brandished samurai sword and hammer in north Belfast 'was just fantasising'

Published 25/08/2016

Andrew Cromie's lawyer said he made up claims of sleeping rough while wielding samurai sword and hammer
Andrew Cromie's lawyer said he made up claims of sleeping rough while wielding samurai sword and hammer

A teenager who brandished a samurai sword in north Belfast and told police he planned to frighten a man was just "fantasising", a court heard today.

Andrew Cromie's lawyer said he also made up claims of sleeping rough while wielding the weapon and a hammer in a bid to get arrested.

The 19-year-old, of Alliance Road in the city, was ordered to complete 18 months probation and 80 hours community service.

Belfast Magistrates' Court was told police were alerted late at night on May 11 to a man wielding weapons in the Ardoyne area.

Officers then discovered Cromie wearing a balaclava and gloves and brandishing the sword and hammer, prosecutors said. They remained in their car for a period when he unsheathed the blade on their arrival.

He was later arrested and claimed to have been sleeping in Ballysillan Park for the previous two weeks. A prosecution lawyer said Cromie told police he had spent hours in Ardoyne as part of a plan to frighten a man who had committed an offence against someone he knew.

Cromie pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.

Defence solicitor Matt Higgins insisted his client was neither sleeping rough nor targeting anyone. "This was all a fantasy because he wanted to get arrested," he argued. Mr Higgins revealed that Cromie has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a serious drug problem that "spiraled into the events of this evening".

The lawyer continued: "He wasn't menacing people, as soon as police came he put the weapons down.

"This was a classic cry for help."

Imposing probation and community service, District Judge Liam McNally warned Cromie that any failure to comply will result in him being jailed for four months.

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