Belfast Telegraph

Man torched ex-wife's car, court told

By Alan Erwin

A man set fire to his ex-wife's car and attacked her new partner with a hammer, the High Court has heard.

Desmond McLearnon broke his love rival's watch with a blow to the arm and threatened to kill him, prosecutors said.

During a failed application for bail, it was claimed that after one of two incidents at the home in Armagh, McLearnon described himself as behaving like "a lunatic".

The 51-year-old denies charges of arson, disorderly behaviour, assault, criminal damage, threats to kill and breach of a non-molestation order. He also denies two counts of possessing an offensive weapon, namely a wheel brace and a claw hammer.

McLearnon, of Cusher Green in Mountnorris, Co Armagh, is alleged to have gone to his estranged wife's Drumman Park home on February 7 and used home heating oil to start a fire in her Nissan Micra.

The court heard claims that on May 30 McLearnon arrived at the woman's home in a boiler suit and carrying a hammer.

She fled while her new partner, Stephen Kelly, tried to secure the property and close an open window, Mrs O'Kane said.

The barrister said: "The allegation is at this point the applicant hit Mr Kelly on the arm with the hammer and threatened him. Police were able to see an abrasion on Mr Kelly's arm and the watch was broken."

Mr Justice O'Hara said it would be irresponsible to grant bail.

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