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Bangor ex-soldier fired ‘in excess of 500 ball bearings’ at neighbour’s house causing £20,000 of damage, court hears


Ivan Jason Giles appeared at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court by videolink

Ivan Jason Giles appeared at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court by videolink

Ivan Jason Giles appeared at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court by videolink

A decorated, ex-Special Forces soldier used catapults to indiscriminately launch at least 500 ball bearings towards his neighbour’s backfiring sports car, a court heard today .

With the case against 47-year-old Ivan Jason Giles described as “bizarre” by District Judge Mark Hamill, Newtownards Magistrates’ Court also heard that the ball bearings damaged the car, three different properties, struck two men and that, at one stage, investigating police “had to take cover” as they were speaking to the victims.

“The fired ball bearings caused upwards of £20,000 of damage,” said Constable Johnston, while defence solicitor John Keown conceded the evidence against Giles is “overwhelming… He accepts fully that he is responsible for these acts.”

Appearing at court by videolink from police custody, balding and bearded Giles, from the Ashbury Road in Bangor, spoke in a soft voice to confirm that he understood the 23 charges against him.

In allegations spanning a ten-month period from August 28, 2021, to August 3 this year, Giles faces 12 counts of criminal damage, two counts of attempted criminal damage, three counts of common assault, two counts of assault on police, two counts of harassment and two counts of intimidation causing a person to leave their residence or occupation.

Objecting to Giles being freed on bail, Constable Johnston outlined that since the incidents began, the defendant, who lived around 100-150 metres away, had fired “in excess of 500 ball bearings”.

According to the charges, Giles fired bearings at one house 82 times, causing damage to five cars, six windows, a wooden fence and a garage door.

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He also struck the resident with bearings and intimidated him and his partner from their home.

Other charges relate to two neighbouring properties, another resident and six vehicles and the court heard that a CCTV camera installed had been hit with such ferocity that “it shakes the camera”.

In one incident at the end of July, Giles is captured on camera “holding a catapult with a ball bearing and just launching it”.

Holding up a sack of ball bearings, the officer said those and other catapults were seized while police searched Giles’ home.

Arrested and interviewed, he refused to answer police questions, even when CCTV footage was put to him, but Constable Johnston explained that Giles “has an issue with people” further up the street who have a Japanese import car, revealing that Giles himself had lodged several complaints about it.

“We have a pattern where reports come in from Mr Giles and then the houses are attacked,” said the officer, adding that “we believe he has taken matters into his own hands, feeling that police are doing nothing about it”.

Revealing that Giles spent more than 20 years in the military, where he “served with distinction” in war zones, Mr Keown said the defendant suffers from PTSD, so the neighbour’s backfiring sports car “exacerbated that condition”.

“He has seen some terrible things in his time in the military, including mass graves,” said the solicitor, who submitted that, with a clear criminal record, Giles could be freed to live at an alternative address.

Describing it as a “highly unusual case”, whereby it was “fortunate there’s been no injury caused”, Mr Keown said Giles’ family had no idea what was going on and are “very concerned” about him.

“My primary concern is to safeguard the people of Bangor,” said District Judge Hamill, saying it was a “bizarre case”.

Granting bail in the sum of £500 with a surety of £500, the judge said Giles had to live at a police-approved address and informed him that he was barred from Bangor, adding “that’s the consequences of terrorising these neighbours”.

Giles was also barred from owning or having a catapult or ball bearings as the case was adjourned to August 24.

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