Belfast Telegraph

Man on bar assault charges wanted police to shoot him dead, court told

The court heard Kelly allegedly wanted to be shot by police (stock photo)
The court heard Kelly allegedly wanted to be shot by police (stock photo)

By George Jackson

A man has been remanded in custody in connection with a weekend incident at a bar in Co Londonderry during which three people were allegedly assaulted and a 200-year-old mirror smashed.

Leon Kelly appeared at a special sitting of Derry Magistrates Court yesterday following his arrest on Saturday night during a police operation when officers pointed their weapons at him.

The court heard Kelly allegedly wanted to be shot by police.

Kelly (31), who is unemployed and has an address at Beechwood Grove in Lifford, Co Donegal, was charged with possessing a rifle in suspicious circumstances, assaulting three men in the Beaufort House in Claudy, and with causing disorderly behaviour in licenced premises.

A police witness told District Judge Barney McElholm that on Saturday night police received a 999 call from the landlord of the Beaufort House who reported an ongoing disturbance.

When police arrived they were told the defendant, who had left the premises, was responsible.

The officer said that during the disturbances, much of which was captured on CCTV, the defendant assaulted three people, one of whom sustained three broken fingers and another of whom was an elderly man whom the defendant punched to the ground. The bar doorman had a glass smashed into his face.

The police witness said the defendant was also recorded throwing glasses, bar stools and chairs around the premises when an irreplaceable mirror over 200 years old and valued at £1,000 was smashed.

He said the defendant is alleged to have shouted at one of his victims: "You orange b******s."

The officer said those injured sustained fractures and facial injuries. He said police at the scene then received information that the defendant was in a caravan at Gortilea Road near Claudy.

When they arrived there, they saw the defendant inside but he refused to open the door. Officers then entered the caravan and saw the defendant sitting with a long-barrelled rifle.

The PSNI witness said: "The police officers drew their firearms and challenged him. He did not respond but, when challenged for a second time, he put the firearm on the ground.

"After he was arrested and interviewed for the second time, he said he was determined to be shot by the police."

Objecting to bail, the officer said the defendant had several public order convictions in Northern Ireland.

She said on April 19 this year he swam across the River Mourne from Lifford to Strabane in order to evade Garda officers.

He told the police that he had an address at Carnhill in Derry, where his girlfriend and their child lived. He also has a girlfriend in Claudy and has two children, both of whom live in Donegal.

Defence barrister Eoghan Devlin said it would take several months to determine if the rifle was real or an imitation.

He said Kelly claimed the rifle was "a John Wayne gun" and he called the area where his caravan was parked "The Ranch".

Mr Devlin added: "The most concerning is the state of mind of the defendant. He accepts he was in the bar and he stated during the police interview that he wanted 'suicide by cops'."

Kelly was remanded in custody until September 12.

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