Father threatened to ‘burn down house’ with family members inside

A FATHER who threatened to burn down his family’s home with his wife and children inside has received a suspended prison service.

Vincent William Woods (55) of Sunnyside Drive Maghera appeared at Magherafelt Magistrates Court via video link on Wednesday facing charges of assault, threats to kill, threats to damage property, threats to damage property and endanger life, and assault on police.

The offences relate to an incident on September 26th of this year when police were tasked to a domestic incident at the family’s Maghera home. Officers were told a male was threatening to burn down the house and refused to let family members leave the property. On arrival officers were met with Woods at the door of his Sunnyside Drive home, who then punched one constable in the face. Officers found Woods’ wife and children inside the property in a distressed state. They told police that the incident arose out of an argument between the 55 year-old and his son. A PPS solicitor told the court that during the argument Woods, who was in an agitated state, assaulted his son by punching him in the face and also assaulted other family members who tried to intervene. Wood’s wife and children exited the house in an attempt to get away from him but were followed by the 55 year-old who threatened to smash the windows of his daughter’s car if they did not return to the house. When they made their way back into the property Woods locked the doors and searched for a lighter. He then attempted to set fire to some money at the top of the stairs, but failed when the lighter did not work.

When questioned by police Woods admitted to “squaring up” to his 16 year-old son and making threats to kill.

A defence solicitor said that since the incident Woods’ family members have all made withdrawal statements.

District Judge Des Perry imposed prison sentences ranging from one month to three months for each of the charges, but said all would run concurrent and be suspended for 18 months.

He was released from prison later that day.