Belfast Telegraph

Belfast man who told police officers to 'drink bleach and hang themselves' on social media avoids prison

Belfast Magistrates' Court.
Belfast Magistrates' Court.

By Alan Erwin

A man who posted messages on a police Facebook page telling two officers to "drink bleach" and hang themselves has been given a five-month suspended jail term.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard Edward Stewart also said he hoped his targets' families would die in car crashes.

The 35-year-old, of Tates Avenue in the city, was convicted of improper use of a public electronic communications network.

A prosecutor detailed how Stewart put comments on a PSNI south Belfast Facebook page last April directed at a sergeant and constable.

"The messages were of an obscene nature, requesting that they hang themselves, cut their wrists and drink bleach," the lawyer said.

"They were among other offensive remarks, including that he hoped their families would be killed in car crashes."

Defence barrister Michael Boyd contended that Stewart has a history of health issues.

He told the court his client "grossly overreacts" when faced with any confrontational situation.

Referring to the Facebook postings, Mr Boyd said: "The background to the incident which sparked off this tirade of abuse was something extremely minor."

Counsel stressed that Stewart has kept himself out of trouble in the intervening months.

Acknowledging the defendant has not offended again since she previously deferred sentencing, District Judge Fiona Bagnall suspended the five-month prison sentence for two years.

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