Heroin addict who threatened to cause a gas explosion in Ballymena on July 12 and blow his home to 'Kingdom Come' receives suspended jail sentence

Heroin addict who threatened to cause a gas explosion in Ballymena on July 12 and blow his home to 'Kingdom Come' receives suspended jail sentence

A HEROIN addict who, a previous court heard, had threatened to cause a gas explosion on July 12 this year and blow his home to "Kingdom Come," has been given a suspended jail term.

Daniel O'Boyle (33), of Drumtara in the Ballee estate in Ballymena, had originally been accused of attempting to cause an explosion by 'tampering with mains gas supply' which was likely to endanger life.

He had also originally been charged with causing criminal damage to gas piping belonging to Firmus Energy.

A court has now heard those charges have been withdrawn by prosecutors and the defendant has admitted charges of being disorderly and assaulting a police officer.

The defendant appeared at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena.

A police officer told a previous court that at 9.30pm on July 12 this year police attended O'Boyle's address following a request from NI Ambulance Service.

The court was told the defendant had been threatening to "self harm" and was heavily intoxicated.

O'Boyle was said to have told police he had damaged a gas pipe. There was a strong smell of gas and hissing could be heard.

Police made efforts to evacuate nearby buildings and the Fire Service set up a cordon.

When arrested, Court News NI can report, the defendant attempted to headbutt a police officer.

During a PSNI interview the defendant admitted the assault charge but denied causing damage to the pipe saying it had been "damaged for weeks".

He said he did not mean it when he told police he was "going to blow the place up" but that he was intoxicated at the time.

The police officer said O'Boyle admitted he was addicted to heroin.

The court heard O'Boyle had 32 previous convictions.

The officer said there was a damaged pipe but she couldn't comment on whether there was a "risk of an explosion".

Defence barrister Stephen Law told the court this week the "more serious" charges had been withdrawn.

He said the defendant had served a number of months in custody on remand.

The lawyer said the offending happened at a "traumatic time" in O'Boyle's life but he is now doing "good work" with an addictions programme.

District Judge Nigel Broderick handed down a four months prison term, suspended for a year, and told the defendant: "This really is your last chance".