Belfast Telegraph

Drug addict in crossbow and hatchet attack is sentenced

Assault: Brian Gerald Forbes
Assault: Brian Gerald Forbes

By George Jackson

A man who fired two arrows from his crossbow at a neighbour's house and hacked at his front door with an axe in a row over an alleged £1,000 debt has been sentenced to 18 months by the Crown Court in Londonderry.

Former cannabis addict Brian Gerald Forbes (50), from Glenanne in Derry's Brandywell area, pleaded guilty to threatening to kill his US-born neighbour, assaulting him, causing criminal damage to his property and possessing a crossbow with arrows and an axe.

He committed the offences outside his neighbour's home at Glendara, also in the Brandywell, on January 3, 2017. The men had rowed over money the victim allegedly owed the accused.

A further charge of attempted murder was "left on the books".

Forbes's sentence was split, with half to be served in custody and half on licence.

But because he has already been held in custody for nine months following the offences, he was released yesterday.

Judge Philip Babington also imposed a five-year restraining order on Forbes banning him from going within 400m of Glendara and banning him from having any personal contact with his victim.

One psychiatrist stated "the most appropriate diagnosis in this case is that this man has a paranoid psychotic disorder arising from harmful use of cannabis in recent years".

Forbes had carried out the crossbow and arrow and axe attack on his neighbour's home at 7am. He told him he was going to kill him and fired two arrows at the house, one of which lodged in a window frame and the second in the front door. Forbes then chopped at the front door with an axe up to 10 times.

The victim called the police and members of a PSNI armed response unit arrived. After speaking to the victim they went to Forbes' nearby home where they found the weapons. Forbes, who was a drug addict at the time, told police he wanted the attack to have a psychological effect on his neighbour.

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