A DRUG addict spotted stumbling around the streets of Ballymena, believes that if he is going to live beyond his 30s he may have to leave the town, the local Magistrates Court was told.
Nicky Millar (32), of 'no fixed abode' in the town, was jailed for ten months for assaulting his mum and possessing drugs - cannabis, Etizolam, Meclonazepam, Pregabalin, Bromazolam, Temazepam, Flubromazolam, Clonazepam and Neurontin.
The defendant appeared at court via a video link from prison where he had been on remand since November.
A prosecutor said Millar came to police attention on several occasions.
Police saw Millar stumbling on the road in front of their vehicle at Lower Mill Street in Ballymena.
He was unsteady on his feet; had glazed eyes and was "drooling from the mouth". A bag of powder, tablets and other drugs were found on him.
On another date police saw Millar "staggering around the footpath, almost walking into moving traffic" at Linenhall Street.
At the Lighthouse hostel in Ballymena police found Millar in an "intoxicated state" and tablets were found.
On another occasion, police saw him in the town centre and when officers approached they saw him "conceal something down the front of his trousers" before drugs were found during a search.
On another night, a foot patrol noticed Millar at a block of flats and found drugs during a search.
The court also heard that on November 22, 2021, Millar had assaulted his mother who said he was intoxicated and began shouting abuse at her.
When she asked him to leave Millar "then is alleged to have grabbed his mother by the throat and held her for approximately ten seconds," a prosecutor said.
Police noticed "redness" on her neck.
Defence lawyer Michael Smith said Millar had "not taken any drugs" in prison.
The barrister added: "He has frankly admitted that drugs could be made available to him in the prison if he had wished to pursue that".
Millar, it was said, has tried to use his time in jail as a "period of rehab".
Mr Smith said the defendant had a relative who works in construction in England and there is an offer of work.
The lawyer added: "Mr Millar has come to the point in his life that he realises if he is going to survive beyond his 30s he needs to either leave Ballymena or secure employment, or both".
Mr Smith said the defendant's record suggests he "fell into the abuse of drugs as early as May 2009 and that addiction has been with him ever since".
He said the police "all recognise" Millar in Ballymena where he goes around "either intoxicated or permanently in possession of some form of Class B or Class C drug, such is the severity of his addiction".
District Judge Nigel Broderick said it was "a very depressing picture" and jailing him for ten months, he said courts had given Millar chances before.
The judge told Millar it had been a "very serious assault on your mother. To grab anyone by the throat and hold them for ten seconds has been recognised by the courts as a significant aggravating feature because obstructing anyone's airway can result in significant injury, possibly unintended".
The judge added: "I don't think, perhaps, you maybe understood at the time what you were actually doing but in terms of your mother it would have been a very frightening experience."
- Main picture: Ballymena Court.