Larne man (46) carrying 'gun' threatened to 'murder' teenager

Larne man (46) carrying 'gun' threatened to 'murder' teenager

A 46-YEAR-OLD Larne man claimed an 'airgun' he was carrying whilst threatening to shoot a teenager dead at Halloween last year was a "prop for fancy dress".

Gerald Samuel McFaul, an electrician, of Blackthorn Rise, pleaded guilty to possessing an 'airgun' in a public place 'without lawful authority or reasonable excuse'.

Three other charges the defendant had faced in relation to October 31 were withdrawn by prosecutors - possession of an 'imitation firearm - a 'pellet gun' - with intent to cause fear of violence; possessing a 'pellet gun and ammunition' in 'suspicious circumstances'; and making a threat to kill two people.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates' Court that on October 30 police received a report that two girls had been assaulted by a male in Larne and there were "no serious injuries sustained".

The next day, Court News NI can report, an "irate" McFaul phoned police "threatening to commit murder".

The prosecutor said the defendant referred to the previous incident where his daughter (14) had been "assaulted" and told the PSNI they would need to go to his home before he "commits murder".

Police then received a 999 call at 1.30am on October 31 from a woman saying she had just picked her teenage son up and he said the defendant had approached him carrying a "black handgun" asking him if he knew where a second teenage male was.

In video footage, McFaul, referring to the second male, was heard to say: "I'm going to shoot him dead".

When arrested and interviewed, McFaul told police where the 'firearm' was and it "turned out to be a BB gun".

The defendant said he had been "concerned over the safety of his daughter".

A defence lawyer said when McFaul saw his daughter had been injured he "thought the worst" .

The lawyer said McFaul "lost his mind" and ran out of the house and lifted the 'gun' which was "a prop for a fancy dress at Halloween" and he took it out to "scare the children".

The court heard it could discharge a pellet but did not require a Firearms Certificate.

The lawyer said the defendant wishes to apologise.

He said there had been a "downturn" in the defendant's work, partly due to the community being aware of the incident before the court.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said at 1.30am people would not know it wasn't a real gun.

He read references handed in to court and noted in his spare time the defendant had previously worked with young children in sport.

The judge said following the incident he would be "surprised" if the defendant was allowed to work with children again.

Judge Broderick said: "Threatening young people with an imitation firearm, or a firearm, is a serious offence and one could imagine they would have been extremely concerned to be presented with an adult who was effectively armed."

The judge said he recognised it was "very much out of character".

Judge Broderick ordered McFaul, who had driving matters on his record, to do 75 hours of Community Service as a "direct alternative to imprisonment".

The judge added: "I think you have now realised the errors of your ways. I appreciate you may have been concerned about your daughter's welfare because she was the victim of a separate incident.

"But this is a classic case were people should understand that the authorities must take responsibility for enforcing the criminal law and to take matters into your own hands has now landed you in court with a serious conviction on your record. I'm sure you deeply regret and if you could turn the clock back you would".