Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland man 'waving gun above his head' threatened to shoot his dog, court hears

Keith Crooks (29) appeared at Newtownards Magistrates Court on Monday
Keith Crooks (29) appeared at Newtownards Magistrates Court on Monday

By Paul Higgins

Terrified neighbours called police after they spotted a man “waving a gun above his head” while threatening to shoot his dog, a court has heard.

On Monday, Newtownards Magistrates Court heard how neighbours of 29-year-old Keith Crooks called police at around 1.30am on December 23 when they heard him “screaming and shouting” at his dog which had escaped from his home at New Line Crescent in Killinchy.

A police officer described how neighbours reported Crooks was repeatedly coming in and out of his home looking for his dog, at one stage with a gun in his hand and at others carrying a knife.

Crooks, the court heard, was allegedly “threatening to kill it, to shoot it.”

Standing handcuffed in the dock, Crooks was charged with having an imitation firearm, two counts of having bladed articles in public, namely a 20-inch machete and a six-inch knife, and breaching a violent offences prevention order by having ammunition on December 23 this year.

The officer, who said she believed she could connect Crooks to the charges, told the court that when his home was searched, police uncovered the two knives, a blank firing pistol and 30 blank firing rounds.

She said police were objecting to bail amid fears that Crooks, currently on probation for “worryingly similar offences,” would either reoffend or interfere with witnesses who were caused “a great deal of distress” by the incident.

Crooks’ defence Solicitor said alcohol had played a significant role in the “regrettable” offence, after he drank a bottle of vodka on top of his medication, but submitted that he could be freed to live with his mother in Dundonald.

Refusing bail, however, and remanding Crooks into custody to appear again via videolink on January 18, District Judge Mark Hamill said he had “managed to torpedo your bail and probably managed to torpedo your probation.”

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