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Man who brandished social distancing post and tried to bite police officers at Belfast shop jailed for five months


Belfast Magistrates' Court

Belfast Magistrates' Court

PA Archive/PA Images

Belfast Magistrates' Court

A shop customer who brandished a security post set up for social distancing and tried to bite police officers has been jailed for five months.

Declan McKernan threatened one constable called to the Eurospar in west Belfast by telling him: "I will take your f****** head off."

The 32-year-old, of Beechmount Parade in the city, admitted three assaults on police, disorderly behaviour, common assault and possession of an offensive weapon.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he had been acting aggressively and shouting at staff outside the Springfield Road shop on March 31.

CCTV footage showed him lift a post set up to encourage social distancing and use it as a weapon to frighten people away from him.

He was said to have assaulted a security guard preventing him from entering due to his actions.

While being detained McKeran opened his mouth, baring his teeth at a constable who believed he was going to be bitten.

He then stated: "When I get these handcuffs off I will take your f****** head off."

McKernan continued to direct verbal abuse at officers, the court heard, trying to bite one of them on the hands and fingers.

In a separate case, he also pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour, possessing Class C drugs, attempted assault occasioning actual bodily harm to another policeman and criminal damage to his glasses.

Those offences relate to an incident in the Thames Court area of Belfast on April 23.

Prosecutors said he attempted to bite the officer and spat at him after being arrested on suspicion of having a quantity of diazepam.

Defence solicitor Brendan Blaney told the court McKernan has struggled with bereavement issues since his older brother died five years ago.

Referring to the incident at the Eurospar, Mr Blaney said his client became involved in a disagreement with a manager.

"He was physically put out of the shop, he was angry and trying to put his point across," the lawyer contended.

Imposing a total sentence of five months, District Judge George Conner declared: "I'm compelled to impose immediate custody."

Mr Conner also ordered destruction of the security post used as a weapon.

Belfast Telegraph