Man came out holding an axe

A Lurgan man threatened to cut his own throat if police did not move away from him, Craigavon Magistrates Court heard last Wednesday.

He was 49-year-old Arthur McDonagh, of Bells Row Court, Lurgan, and he was given suspended prison sentences.

For two charges of making a threat to kill on June 26 this year he was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years.

Concurrent four month terms, also suspended for three years, were imposed for assaulting a constable, assaulting a man and possession of an offensive weapon, a hatchet.

The court heard that police, who were carrying out a search at an address in Lurgan, found irregularities with the electric box on the gable wall.

They thought it was a health and safety hazard and returned later with two members of the NIE.

McDonagh was standing outside talking on a mobile phone. He became aggressive and told police and the NIE staff to leave.

The defendant’s shoulder pushed a constable off balance.

McDonagh then ran into the house and came out with an axe. Police warned him to drop the axe and he ran back into the house.

He came out with a knife which he held to his throat and threatened to slice his throat with it if they did not leave.

Police retired to a safe distance and then a member of the public told them the defendant had taken a heart attack. An ambulance had to be called.

When interviewed McDonagh denied all the offences and could offer no explanation for putting the knife to his throat.

A barrister representing the defendant said that earlier in the day police had been at the house and found a shotgun in a pillow case.

He explained that McDonagh was already apprehensive about that and then the police noticed the electricity.

The barrister explained he had alcohol in his system from the night before and he just went over the edge. He collapsed and an ambulance was called.

He pointed out that there were only two entries on the defendant’s record in the last two years and he would apologise for what happened.

The barrister asked the judge to deal with him in a way he could prove he could stay out of trouble.

District Judge, Mr Alan White, said it was an outrageous incident and that McDonagh’s behaviour was deplorable.