Belfast Telegraph

Tyrone man tried to abduct girl and burn down school, court hears

By Staff Reporter

A Dungannon man has been convicted of attempting to abduct a friend's five-year-old daughter and threatening to burn down her school.

Justin Patrick McDonald (37) of Union Street, turned up at the Dungannon school on November 18, 2016 extremely drunk, demanding that the girl be handed into his care. Prevented from getting to the child, McDonald threatened to burn the school down.

At Dungannon Magistrates' Court, he denied the offences or being drunk.

The court heard that primary 1 pupils had left on the school bus to go home.

However, no-one was at the girl's home and the driver returned her to the school.

The principal said that while enquiries were under way, McDonald arrived at the school intoxicated, claiming he was collecting the child.

The principal said: "He has no connection with the child. He's not her father and he is not on the list of people who can collect her. I knew immediately we were going to decline his request.

"I told him the only person taking (the child) out would be a social worker. I said I had no choice but to call social services."

McDonald approached the child's classroom, but her teacher had seen what was occurring and locked the door. Unable to get in, McDonald "put his shoulder to the door" but could not force it.

The teacher took the child into another room and the principal said: "Call the police. He's threatened to burn the school down."

Police arrived and escorted McDonald from the school. He left and was later arrested.

District Judge John Meehan described it as "a disgraceful episode".

McDonald, who has 172 previous convictions including for violence, was remanded on bail to appear for sentencing next month.

Belfast Telegraph

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