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Drugged-up man sparked school alert in Belfast, court hears

By Chris Woodhouse

A man who was “wiped out of his tree” on drugs made three attempts to abduct children from a Belfast nursery school, a court has heard.

Drugged up William John Hamilton (27) arrived at the nursery last Tuesday and asked for a boy by his first name even though he had no connection to any pupil.

When he was told there was no such child he asked for two girls by name before staff alerted police.

At Belfast Magistrates' Court on Saturday, a CID officer said Hamilton had consumed a “large amount” amount of diazepam before going to the school in a “drug-induced haze”.

The officer said that staff at the school were “intensely concerned” at his protracted attempts to remove a child from the school even though he had no connection to any pupil at the school whatsoever.

He also said that Hamilton accepted he was the man that went to the school and that he has been addicted to diazepam for years.

A defence solicitor said that Hamilton, who currently lives at a Simon Community hostel on the Falls Road, was “wiped out of his tree” on drugs at the time.

It was also revealed that a friend had died from a drugs overdose at Hamilton’s flat on the Ormeau Road in August this year but that had not motivated him to give up his addiction.

His lawyer argued that there was nothing sinister behind Hamilton’s attempts to take a child from the school as he was “just walking around in a haze”.

He said that earlier that day Hamilton had been moved on by police after they found him standing in a telephone box shouting but not actually using the telephone.

Refusing bail, District Judge Bernadette Kelly said she was exceptionally concerned that a man with no connection with a school would seek to remove a child, asking “where did that come from?”

Judge Kelly said she had to consider all children and parents when deciding whether to grant him bail.

Hamilton was remanded in custody to appear again on December 15.

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