Belfast Telegraph

Academic banned from QUB campus after alleged threats

By Anne Madden

A psychology researcher from Queen’s University, Belfast, has been barred from the campus after allegedly threatening a senior male academic in his department, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

Dr Patrick Martens, who is half German and half English, has also been banned from going within five miles of a Co Antrim village where the fellow psychology academic lives.

On Thursday, the top university secured a High Court injunction to prevent Dr Martens carrying out any alleged threats or intimidation.

Counsel for the university, Jonathan Dunlop, told the court that he believed Dr Martens left to go to England and has yet to return.

But this newspaper contacted the 32-year-old research fellow in his home city of Hamburg in Germany yesterday, where he said he would be seeking legal advice on the case.

The academic claimed to be unaware of the court case, though did admit being suspended from his post.

He refused to comment on the nature of the allegations against him.

High Court judge Mr Justice McCloskey further ruled that Dr Martens must not phone or text any staff or students at Queen’s University.

Mr Justice McCloskey granted the interim injunction after referring to “various disturbing acts” alleged as part of the case.

His temporary order, which followed a hearing where only lawyers for Queen's were present, will remain in force until September 16.

An internal investigation by the university is examining serious allegations of intimidation and abuse by Dr Martens which were described yesterday as “sinister and disturbing”.

A university spokesman said he could not comment on the exact nature of the allegations yesterday, but that Dr Martens is suspended pending the inquiry.

Police have not yet been called in to the investigation.

The research fellow only gained his doctorate in political psychology this summer. He previously attended school in north Yorkshire.

Dr Martens was one of a team of psychology academics from Belfast that went to a conference on political participation in Italy in May.

He is based at the David Keir building on the Stranmillis Road under Professor Evanthia Lyons, who was only recently appointed head of the School of Psychology.

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