Court hears 75-year-old community official left 'petrified' by alleged campaign of intimidation in Randalstown

Court hears 75-year-old community official left 'petrified' by alleged campaign of intimidation in Randalstown

A COURT heard a 75-year-old official with a community group in Randalstown was left "petrified" by an alleged campaign of intimidation.

Details emerged at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday where Samuel Brown (55), of Main Street in Randalstown, appeared via a video link from custody, charged with 12 offences.

He is accused of assaulting the 75-year-old; harassment of the official; making a threat to kill him, 'his family and housing staff'; improper use of electronic communications; four assaults on police officers; causing criminal damage to kitchen cupboards belonging to Arches House (Housing) and causing criminal damage to windows of Arches House property on two occasions; and attempted criminal damage.

The charges relate to dates including January 10/17/25 this year and the harassment is alleged to have started in March last year.

Objecting to bail, a police officer said an official with the group said there had been "ongoing issues" with Brown who was a tenant at a property owned by Arches Housing.

The 75-year-old told police he had attended Brown's address where the defendant allegedly became "hostile and abusive" and as he went to leave his hat was "hit off his head" and he was in fear of assault.

The official saw cupboards sitting outside which were cracked and damaged and the tenant did not have permission to remove them.

The officer said on January 17 CCTV at the Arches office showed Brown "throwing eggs" at the windows and on the same date CCTV also showed him "kicking the front door" of the office.

The PSNI woman said the community official said issues with the defendant had "spanned from March 2021 until time of report with his behaviour getting more concerning".

The court heard the Arches email address received over 40 emails from Brown with some using "hostile and abusive language" towards the official.

On January 25 this year, Brown told police he had left voicemails on the Arches housing phone "threatening to kill" the 75-year-old.

The court heard a staff member then told police one of their tenants had left three voicemails in which he said he would "kill the staff at the Arches" and would "kill" the 75-year-old.

Police went to Brown's property at 11.30pm on January 26 to arrest him but he allegedly refused to open the door.

He "quickly became hostile and aggressive"; hitting the inside of his front door with an item causing police to retreat.

It was alleged Brown then opened his door and lobbed glass bottles down stairs towards police and a shard of glass landed below an officer's eye.

It was further claimed that whilst police were standing outside, the defendant smashed a window causing glass to shatter onto officers.

He spat at a police officer's body armour and officers saw him "using a golf club" to smash a window.

Officers could hear "constant smashing and loud banging" from inside the property.

When police got into the property there was damage to the front door and kitchen.

The officer said when arrested Brown refused to leave his cell for an interview.

The PSNI woman said the defendant has been served with an Eviction Notice.

She said there were concerns about his "behaviour escalating".

The officer said the official was aged 75 and when she had spoken to him on the phone that morning he had said he was "petrified" by events.

Defence solicitor Stewart Ballentine said the defendant had been a tenant at the property for 13 years and had been "fully compliant with all the terms of the tenancy".

The lawyer said issues "appeared to have escalated" recently because Brown "has been trying to get certain repairs carried out within the last 18 months without much success".

The solicitor said workmen were due to have turned up to do "renovations" on January 10 but when a plumber did not appear work was not carried out.

He alleged the matter "escalated" when "the injured party refused to carry out any further repairs whatsoever".

The lawyer said the cupboards had been removed to allow renovations to be carried out .

Mr Ballentine told the court the defendant "suffered a brain injury and it may well be that because of the stress he was under and the fact the repairs were not going to be done that he made these threats" but alleged there was never any intention to carry them out.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said because of the defendant's limited record he was admitting Brown to £500 bail to an address approved by police.

There was also an exclusion from Randalstown; a ban on alcohol and he is not be in licensed premises.

There is also a 10-pm-7am curfew when he is electronically tagged; and he is banned from getting in contact with Arches staff.

The case was adjourned to Antrim Magistrates Court on February 15.