A MAN accused of making threats over an unpaid debt has appeared in court.
Gavin Joseph Thompson is alleged to have told a man living in Dubai that his father, who lives in Co Antrim, would “get a bullet” if he did not pay.
The defendant (45) is charged with sending a menacing message, blackmail and the burglary of a house in Ballymena just over a week ago.
Objecting to bail, a detective constable said police received a report from a man that his home had been broken into while he and his wife were out.
The court was told Thompson left a note with his name and address and a message saying the couple’s son “needs to ring me”. “He owes me a lot of money. If (he doesn’t ring), I will be back,” it added.
After the PSNI contacted the son, he said the defendant had sent him messages including a picture of a broken window, the door of his parents’ home and an allegedly stolen wedding anniversary photo.
One of the messages is said to have read: “Next time you won’t be so lucky unless you pay up. Your choice. Your father is going to get a bullet. The clock is ticking. I want my money.”
Thompson was arrested in the Oriel Road area of Antrim on June 24.
When interviewed, he claimed that he had gone to the house looking to speak to the man’s parents.
He told police he smashed the window, turned a key on the inside of the door and briefly entered the property but insisted he had taken nothing.
Thompson refused to provide a PIN number for his phone, and when asked about messages gave a no-comment answer.
Ballymena Magistrates Court was told the alleged offences were “very unsophisticated” and not as sinister as they sounded.
A defence lawyer said his client had loaned the couple’s son £20,000 to set up a personal training business, though the amount is disputed.
The court was told that after drinking alcohol, Thompson had gone about trying to get his money back “in the wrong way”.
The defence lawyer said his client and the man in question had an agreement that he did not have to repay the money until his business was “turning over £100,000 a year, and then it would be paid back with 10 per cent interest”.
It was also claimed that he had already repaid two sums, though this is disputed by the defendant. Thompson, with an address at Waymark Gardens in St Helen’s, near Liverpool, was refused bail.