'Heartbroken' County Antrim man jailed for three months after he tried to force his way into a property in Randalstown with a knife with a ten-inch long blade

'Heartbroken' County Antrim man jailed for three months after he tried to force his way into a property in Randalstown with a knife with a ten-inch long blade

A MAN who a defence lawyer said was "heartbroken" after the break-up of his relationship with his girlfriend, tried to force his way into a property in Randalstown with a knife with a ten-inch long blade.

Details emerged at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, regarding James Toal (26), of Duneane Road, Toomebridge.

He appeared at court via a video link from prison.

He was previously convicted after a contest of possessing a knife at Coolsythe Walk in Randalstown on March 23 this year and making a threat to kill a man.

Toal admitted improper use of communications in relation to that day.

A prosecutor said police had received a report of incident at address in Randalstown

On arrival they spoke with one of the injured parties who said she had "separated" from Toal, her former partner.

The court heard Toal had sent  threatening messages and had threatened to kill the woman's "son's father".

The prosecutor said Toal also threatened to kill himself and "blame" the injured party which caused her great distress

The court heard the woman believed Toal capable of carrying out the threats.

A friend of the injured party told police Toal had turned up at her home where the injured party and a male were present and proceeded to "threaten to kill" the man.

The court heard a short time later Toal had returned carrying a black-handled knife with a blade approximately ten inches in length.

Toal had attempted to force his way into the address "but was disarmed by another male who forced him out the door".

The defendant told police he had sent a message saying 'I'm going to kill him' but said he did not intend to carry out and denied going to Randalstown saying he had been at home since returning from work.

On July 16 this year he assaulted two police officers and caused criminal damage to a police cell van.

Police had received a 999 call about an ongoing domestic and arrived to find Toal being restrained on the ground by family members.

Toal was agitated, shouting and "foaming at the mouth".

He twice spat in the direction of an officer hitting him on the leg and another officer was also spat at.

Toal also spat a number of times in a cell van.

Meanwhile, he pleaded guilty to assaulting his sister and assaulting a police officer on August 29 this year.

A prosecutor said police were called to the Toome area and saw the defendant being restrained by family members on the living room floor.

The defendant's sister said he had punched her twice - in the face and head - and police saw a red mark to her arm where she had fallen.

Toal was arrested and just missed a police officer with spit which landed on a police vehicle.

The defendant told police he had half a bottle of vodka and that he was having a "fight" with a family member and his sister had got in the middle and he hadn't meant to hit her.

Defence barrister Caitriona Keenan said it had been "accepted" by the injured parties at the contest that they "never believed" there was any possibility the defendant would follow through on the threats.

The lawyer said Toal had been "heartbroken" after his relationship with his partner ended and his "fragile mental state had deteriorated rapidly".

She said the defendant had alcohol addiction issues and the incidents happened at an "extremely dark period" in his life.

Regarding the assault on his sister, the lawyer said Toal was heavily intoxicated at the time and although he accepts it happened he "doesn't recall the incident happening".

The barrister said the defendant had learned a "harsh lesson" from the court proceedings.

The defendant was given a three months jail sentence and made the subject of a two year Restraining Order regarding his former partner.