Monday 28 May 2018

Loyalist who said he’d kill Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson had been on a drinking spree, court hears

Lesley-Anne McKeown

A LOYALIST who made a 999 call to threaten Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson had been on a drinking spree, a court heard today.

Darren Scott, 34, from Croft Court in east Belfast, had consumed 12 pints of cider and a number of bottles of WKD when he made the telephone call to the emergency services yesterday.

The unemployed father-of-four was remanded in custody after appearing at Newtownards Magistrates' Court this morning.

He was charged with threatening to kill Peter Robinson and improper use of an electronic communications network.

PSNI Detective Constable Owen Nevin said he believed there was evidence linking the accused to the charges.

He revealed that Scott had made two 999 calls which were 40 minutes apart.

In one, he claimed responsibility for the attempted murder of a female police officer whose patrol car was petrol bombed as it was parked outside the offices of under-threat Alliance Party MP Naomi Long on November 10.

DC Nevin told the court: "There was no other evidence to back up the claim."

However, the detective said there was evidence of clear intent when Scott threatened in another call to kill the DUP leader and First Minister.

"There is evidence to back this up," DC Nevin said.

Scott was arrested at his home after spelling out his full name and address for the 999 call handlers.

The court heard how he had been drinking at two bars in Belfast city centre and continued his alcoholic binge at a friend's house where he consumed 10 pints of cider.

It was claimed that the relationship with the mother of his children had broken down and that he made the calls because he wanted to be jailed.

DC Nevin added: "He wanted to go to prison were the words he used."

Meanwhile, defence solicitor Pat Kelly said there was no application for bail as his client was already on bail for riotous assembly at the Ardoyne flashpoint in north Belfast on July 12.

Scott appeared in the dock handcuffed to a prison guard. He was dressed in a white tracksuit with a shaved head and had a tattoo on his neck.

He spoke only to confirm his name and that he understood the charges against him. He also nodded as the charges were read out.

District Judge Mark Hamill said he was not surprised there was no application for bail.

"It is not surprising given that he's on bail for riotous assembly," the judge said.

Scott was remanded in custody and is due to appear in court in Belfast via videolink on January 8.

Mr Robinson is the latest political representative to be subject to a threat amid continuing unrest over the removal of the Union flag from Belfast City Hall.

Loyalists have been protesting over the decision by Belfast City Council to reduce the number of days the flag flies.

East Belfast Alliance Party MP Naomi Long has received a death threat from loyalists, while senior Democratic Unionists Jeffrey Donaldson and Edwin Poots have also been informed of threats, apparently from dissident republicans, after speaking out in favour of flying the flag.

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