Court hears accident could have been caused after man punched windscreen of car he was in on way to a 'protest' in Larne

Court hears accident could have been caused after man punched windscreen of car he was in on way to a 'protest' in Larne

A BALLYMENA man who punched and caused damage to the windscreen of a car he was in whilst on his way to a "protest" in Larne could have caused an accident, a court heard.

Matthew Doey (24), of Arran Avenue, pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to an Audi A3 in April last year.

The defendant also admitted making a threat to kill his former girlfriend; a threat to damage her home and improper use of a public communications network.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court a woman told police there had been "ongoing issues with her ex-boyfriend".

Police saw she was "visibly upset" and she told officers that on April 6 Doey had asked her to drive him to a "protest which was taking place in Larne".

The court heard Doey was a front seat passenger and when he asked to "borrow money" there was an argument and he became "verbally abusive and angry" and punched the front windscreen "causing a number of large cracks in the glass".

The "extremely frightened" woman had to stop the car.

It cost £210 to fix the window.

The prosecutor said Snapchat messages were then exchanged regarding Doey paying for the damage and the defendant then allegedly said in a phone call to the woman: "I will burn your house down and murder you".

The court heard the woman was concerned that Doey might carry out the threat.

Defence barrister Stephen Law said it was accepted it had been "totally disgraceful behaviour".

He said Doey's actions in the car had "endangered" both the defendant and the woman.

Mr Law said there had then been "vile abuse" by Doey who had threatened "to damage her property and her well-being".

He said it had been a "Jekyll & Hyde scenario" regarding the defendant who works and is also a primary carer for his mother.

The lawyer said the relationship with the woman has ended.

Mr Law said Doey "self reports he is now absent from any illegal substance or alcohol".

He said the defendant has shown "genuine remorse" for his "totally reprehensible" behaviour and had so far raised £110 to pay for the damage to the car window.

District Judge Nigel Broderick told Doey: "I take a very dim view of the facts as outlined".

He said it had been "disgraceful behaviour" and added: "I have no doubt that this victim would have been very frightened at your actions and to damage any windscreen when a vehicle is being driven on a public road is a very dangerous thing to do".

The judge put the defendant on Probation to "address your anger management problems which are clearly evident".