Man’s behaviour towards elderly neighbours said to be ‘appalling’

Magherafelt Court House.INMM0716-301
Magherafelt Court House.INMM0716-301

A District Judge has described a south Derry man’s behaviour towards two elderly women as “appalling”.

Before Magherafelt Magistrates Court on Wednesday was 22-year-old Anton William David Linton, of Fairhill Park, Maghera, who was placed on Probation for two years on a harassment charge.

Judge Oonagh Mullan told Linton that reading the pre-sentence report she had been mindful of imposing an immediate period of imprisonment.

She remarked that he had pursued an appalling course of conduct over a period of time against the women.

He received a similar sentence in relation to a similar charge against an ex-partner.

The court heard the harassment against the two women, described as being in their 60s and vulnerable, occurred on dates between February 1 and June 1.

Prosecution counsel said it began when the defendant moved into a neighbouring property.

He said Linton shouted and swore at the victims when he met them, calling them old b*****ds, f***ing b***hes, and making threats that he would “get the Shankill crowd down to them”.

Every time he walked past the house he made a finger gesture at the window, counsel continued, calling them f***ing old b***hes.

The lawyer said on one occasion Linton threatened to cut the throat of a pet dog and hang it on the fence.

He played loud music late at night and this was reported to the local council.

In relation to the harassment of his ex-partner between April 25 and May 13, the lawyer said he had attempted to contact her through social media.

He was warned by police to stop but continued until he was arrested and taken to Coleraine custody suite and made an admission.

A defence solicitor said he had now moved some distance away from the house and has had no further contact with the women.

He said Linton was now genuinely contrite and wished to apologise unreservedly to the two ladies.

The lawyer explained that the defendant has had emotional issues in his past which have impacted negatively and as a consequence he lacked social skills. He suggested that working with the Probation Service could help him address these issues.

Judge Mullan warned Linton that he must engage in work and programmes recommended by his Probation Officer and failure to do so would result in him being brought back to court. She put in place a 12-month restraining order in respect of his ex-partner.

She also imposed fines totalling £460 and banned him from driving for six months for having no insurance, failing to display ‘L’ plates, driving while unaccompanied, and taking a vehicle without authority.