Court hears police helicopter deployed to Coleraine to hunt for man who allegedly made threats to kill

Court hears police helicopter deployed to Coleraine to hunt for man who allegedly made threats to kill

A POLICE helicopter was deployed in the hunt for a man accused of making a number of threats in the Coleraine area.

Matthew Campbell (23), with an address listed as Swilly Close, Portstewart, has pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to a woman's car on January 22 this year.

He is accused of offences on January 24 this year - criminal damage to the same woman's car; making threats to kill; threatening to damage property; being disorderly in Coleraine; and harassment.

The defendant appeared via a video link from custody at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena.

A police officer objected to bail and told the court a woman said Campbell, with whom she had recently "split up," claimed the defendant had been verbally abusive to her via phone.

The next day she found her car windscreen and another window had been smashed and a tyre was flat, Court News NI can report.

Video footage showed the defendant allegedly using a bat to attack the woman's vehicle.

The officer said the woman sent a text to the defendant calling him a 'b*stard' and Campbell allegedly responded: 'It will be your house next you tramp'.

It was also heard Campbell allegedly made a threat against property belonging to another woman and what the defendant allegedly referred to as that woman's 'Fenian partner's car'.

He was given police bail for the first incident and it was alleged that "within an hour" the ex-partner said Campbell sent text messages featuring a "mixture of apologising and being threatening".

The woman said Campbell sent 46 messages of calls and texts and it was alleged he threatened to kill the woman's "ex-partner".

A temporary covering over her broken car window was allegedly damaged.

It was alleged Campbell was shouting about putting a woman "out of her house".

A woman said Campbell told a woman two cars would be "done next" and allegedly said he was going kill his ex-partner and "anyone that gets in my way" and threatened to damage property.

Police could not find Campbell and the police helicopter was brought in before the defendant was located.

The court heard Campbell was arrested and started shouting "sectarian remarks such as Republican-loving bastards".

He swore at police.

A man alleged Campbell called him a  "Fenian b*stard" which he perceived as a "hate crime".

When interviewed the defendant said he had taken a "lot of alcohol".

A defence solicitor said the defendant had not taken alcohol for "two years".

Refusing bail, District Judge Nigel Broderick said there was a risk of further offending and the defendant was "volatile".

The defendant was remanded in custody and the case was adjourned to Coleraine Magistrates Court on February 21.