Court hears Ballymena man once jailed for attempted murder of Catholic who escaped after 'playing dead' is now 'looking after' elderly man who had a stroke

Court hears Ballymena man once jailed for attempted murder of Catholic who escaped after 'playing dead' is now 'looking after' elderly man who had a stroke

A BALLYMENA man previously jailed for the attempted murder of a Catholic who pretended to be dead and heard his attackers discuss cutting up his body, is now 'looking after' an elderly man who had a stroke, a court was told.

Aaron Thomas White (49), of Lettercreeve, has admitted charges of disorderly behaviour and indecent behaviour in connection with an incident in the Larne Road area of Ballymena on November 14 last year.

The defendant was at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, on Tuesday.

A defence barrister said White is "now living in stable accommodation looking after an elderly gentleman who has had a stroke".

The lawyer added: "He only moved in with this family friend".

The case was adjourned to March 1 for a pre-sentence report.

Meanwhile, the court heard the defendant had appealed a previous sentence of four months which was replaced, at Antrim County Court on January 17 this year, with an 18 months Probation Order.

In December last year White was given the prison term for assault on police, resisting another officer and being disorderly in Ballymena town centre on August 7 last year.

A prosecutor told an earlier court that at 1.30am police saw him having a verbal altercation with group of males at McDonald's restaurant in Ballymena.

Officers told him to go home but in the car park he started shouting abuse at officers and others.

He then moved to the middle of Galgorm Street and continued to shout abuse at the PSNI and passing vehicles.

When arrested, Court News NI previously reported, he started to pull away and resisted, attempting to pull an officer to the ground.

When cautioned and asked about Covid, the prosecutor said, White said he "had it all" and "proceeded to lean in and cough directly in a female officer's face from a distance of approximately six inches to one foot away from her".

A defence barrister told the previous court the incident was unacceptable and it was aggravated by happening during "times of Covid".

He said White had been under the influence of alcohol.

He said the defendant had kept out of trouble for a number of years.

At the earlier court, District Judge Nigel Broderick noted the attempted murder conviction White had from 2007.

That was a reference to an incident in 2003 when White and his brother were convicted for trying to murder a Catholic man who was attacked with a knife, saucepan and ligature at Patrick Place in Ballymena.

The man only managed to escape by pretending he was dead.

He was cut 16 times, beaten, kicked and subjected to an attempted strangulation and told a court that he was told: "We are going to kill you, you fenian b*****d - you are going to die."

Regarding the August incident last year, Judge Broderick had said: "This is disgraceful behavior. Police officers are public servants and to say to a female police officer when you asked quite legitimately 'do you have symptoms of Covid-19 from the last 14 days?', you answered yes and you coughed directly into her face. And she believes, with good reason, you did that deliberately".

The judge said that was in the context of somebody with a "very serious criminal record".

Handing down the initial four months prison term, Judge Broderick had added in December: "Individuals in society must realise that in the current pandemic to cough in this police officer's face is wholly unacceptable and must be dealt with firmly and rigorously by the courts".

  • Main picture: Aaron White.