Court hears Larne woman 'pulled handgun out of dressing gown following disagreement over dogs'

Court hears Larne woman 'pulled handgun out of dressing gown following disagreement over dogs'

POLICE received a report that a 60-year-old Larne woman "pulled a handgun out of her dressing gown" and pointed it at neighbours following a "disagreement over dogs".

However, Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena (main picture), heard that although the neighbours - a man and a woman - did not know it at the time it turned out to be a "toy gun".

A charge of possessing a 'firearm or imitation' was withdrawn by prosecutors.

Arising out of the same incident, Denise Martin, of Drummond Court, admitted two charges of assault and one of cultivating cannabis.

The defendant appeared at court via video link from Hydebank Prison where she has been on remand for several months after failing to perfect bail.

A prosecutor said that around 9.30pm on October 23 last year police received the report of the 'gun' incident which occured in the street at Drummond Court.

The court heard Martin also threatened to put "windows in" at a property.

When police arrived they saw Martin standing inside her own property at the front window and she attempted to "barricade" the front door.

She refused to engage with police but officers were able to "force entry".

An 'imitation firearm' was found along with two cannabis plants.

When interviewed the defendant initially denied the offences but admitted cultivating the cannabis for her own personal use "for medicinal reasons".

District Judge Nigel Broderick noted the 'imitation firearm' was later established to be a "toy gun" and that charge was withdrawn.

A defence solicitor confirmed it was a "plastic toy gun".

He added: "In terms of the assaults, I accept they are aggravated by production of a toy gun.  Of course, the victims didn't know that at the time".

He said Martin "bought seeds off Amazon" and was growing cannabis for herself.

He said the defendant had "complex mental health needs".

The court heard the defendant intends to go back to her home when released from jail.

Judge Broderick jailed the defendant for three months, time which Martin has already served on remand.

The judge said it was important that there are "protective measures in place to support the defendant and prevent any re-offending especially with her neighbours who she will continue, it appears, to live beside".

A two year Restraining Order was also put in place.