A former would-be MP turned anti-drugs vigilante has pleaded guilty to threatening to shoot and kill a suspected paramilitary he labelled "Mr Coke".
During a brief video-link hearing at Laganside Courthouse last week, former election candidate Bobby Beck (56) admitted threatening to kill Newtownards man David English, possessing two kitchen knives without lawful excuse in a public place and disorderly behaviour.
In remarkable scenes at Belfast Magistrates Court when Beck was initially charged last month, he said from the dock he would "put two in the chest and one in the head" of Mr English who was described in court by cops as a suspected paramilitary.
It followed Beck's arrest in south Belfast's Belvoir estate on Thursday, January 16, when cops found him covered in blood and carrying two kitchen knives.
Beck stood for election in 2017 as an independent in East Belfast and was praised at that time by prominent Irish language activist and tutor Linda Ervine (right), sister-in-law of late PUP leader David Ervine.
He now claims to be a member of a group called Loyalists Against Drug Dealers.
The court was told at an earlier hearing police officers had been on their way to speak to Beck at his home address in Belvoir when they found him wandering the estate, armed with the two weapons and in an agitated state.
Police told the court they found him on Kilwarlin Crescent on the estate just after 10.30pm.
A detective constable said: "He was found with one large red kitchen knife and one large blue kitchen knife.
"When approached by officers, he called them 'w***ers' and 'd***heads' before telling them to 'f*** off', saying he had been assaulted a short time earlier.
"He then moved towards a phone box and dropped the knives before being detained."
The officer added: "In custody, he said he would 'find a 9mm and stick it in' David English who is believed to be part of a paramilitary organisation in Newtownards.
"He admitted swearing and shouting at police because he was irate, saying he had been assaulted by three males earlier.
"He also told police he had phoned Mr English and told him he intends to carry out the threat and reiterated this in interview."
Beck, who had appeared in court unrepresented, told District Judge John Meehan: "I strongly object to being remanded in custody. I am a spokesperson for an organisation called Loyalists Against Drug Dealers and last week there was action taken against known drug dealers in the north Down area. This included their houses, cars, businesses and pubs. They were told last week their lives were in danger and they would be executed. They were told their time is up.
"David English is Mr Coke, he threatened me and went to my mother and father's house threatening them. I told him to stay away from their house or I would kill him, I'll put two in his chest and one in his head.
"I had intended to go away for a while to America or Canada but if you want to jeopardise that it's up to you."
Refusing him bail at the earlier hearing, Judge Meehan told him: "You are in a parallel universe in which you believe you are the law and pose a real danger to the safety of the public."
In 2017, Linda Ervine, whose husband Brian was formerly leader of the PUP, tweeted her support for the then prospective parliamentary candidate Beck, saying: "Chatting today with Robert Beck who is standing as an Independent. Great to see he supports an Irish Language Act. Maith thú Bobby Beck."
Despite the support of Mrs Ervine, he received just 54 votes in the constituency which was won by the DUP's Gavin Robinson.
Beck, from Mahee Close in the Belvoir estate, was remanded in custody pending a pre-sentence report which is due on March 20.