A 27-year-old Tyrone man who pointed a gun at his sister’s head, threatening to shoot her “in the face” was given the full minimum sentence of five years on Wednesday.
Describing him as a “boorish individual” with a record for domestic violence Judge Neil Rafferty QC told Dominic McGrath he saw no exceptional circumstances in his case for not imposing that statutory minimum.
The Dungannon Crown Court judge said while he “found this an alarming and threatening incident” and also had concerns about McGrath deemed a high risk of re-offending, he was not considered as posing a serious danger to the public.
He pleaded guilty to possessing a .22 rifle modified to be a pistol, with intent to cause fear of violence, and having the modified pistol and ammunition without a firearms’ certificate.
McGrath from Windmill Drive, Ballysaggart in Dungannon, also banned from even approaching his sister for the next five years, was ordered to serve two and a half years custody followed by two and a half years on supervised licenced parole.
Prosecuting barrister Michael McAleer said that on November 12 last year an armed police response team, recovered the weapon from under a mattress in McGrath’s bedroom following an emergency call from his sister.
Initially she said she locked herself in her bedroom after her aggressive acting brother produced what looked to her like a shotgun, but only shorter, and pointing it at her face, threatened to shoot anyone who came into his bedroom.
Mr McAleer said in a later confrontation McGrath again pointed the gun at her head, telling her: “I’m going to shoot you in the face”. He added that at this stage “scared of her brother and unsure of what her brother was capable of”, that she called police.
However, Mr McAleer added that there was no victim impact from McGrath’s sister as she “did not want to make things anymore difficult for her brother”.
Defence barrister Richard McConkey said McGrath, who has over 50 previous convictions, including domestic violence, accepted that any difficulties within his family were all his fault.
However, he added that medical notes showed there was a concern with his mental health and substance abuse, “the bane of this man’s life, but that since being in prison had taken steps to tackle these problems”.
McGrath, said Mr McConkey, was “trying for the first time in a real way to get his life in order”, and that his guilty pleas, were an indication of “his more mature attitude”.