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Man used ‘Gothic horror weapon’ for defence, court told

A man has been remanded in custody for possessing what a judge described as a “Gothic horror weapon” — a claw hammer with nails welded to it.

Philip Murray (47), of Shearwater Way in Londonderry, appeared at the city’s Magistrates Court charged with possessing the hammer, a two-foot long Samurai sword as well as three assaults, resisting police and disorderly behaviour.

All the offences are alleged to have occurred on September 3. The court was told that police were called to the Lincoln Court area of the Waterside after reports that a man had been Tasered.

When they arrived they saw three men fighting on the ground.

Murray was observed to be one of them and he had the hammer in his hand. The sword was lying nearby.

CS spray was used to break up the fight and a police officer said Murray raised the hammer towards police but was restrained.

He was arrested and later told police he was only defending his home. When police searched his house they found a collection of machete-type knives and a Taser box.

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Murray admitted possessing the weapons but said there had been a crowd outside his home and he was defending himself.

The court was told that police believe the incident was connected to an earlier one where Murray's son was allegedly involved in an incident where a man was Tasered.

The son subsequently called his father for assistance.

Defence solicitor Moira Lafferty told the court that Murray claimed he saw the crowd outside his house and had “foolishly” picked up the items to |defend himself and “unfortunately” had not phoned the police although he had no intention of using them. She said the collection of weapons was down to Murray's son, who collected knives as a hobby.

District Judge Barney McElholm asked to see the claw hammer and when he saw it he described it as a “Gothic horror weapon”.

The judge added: “If there was a crowd of 15 or so outside my house I would phone the police. And if I found a murderous weapon like that I would go straight to the police.”

He refused Murray bail on the grounds that he may interfere with witnesses.

Murray was remanded in custody to appear again on September 29.

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