'Leader of the IRA' appears before court

'Leader of the IRA' appears before court

A DRUNK man was staggering onto a road in Antrim town and when a passing motorist stopped to help he became aggressive and said: "I am the leader of the IRA".

Darren Bell (41), of Barra Street in Antrim, admitted being disorderly at Stiles Way after 7pm on July 22 this year.

The defendant appeared via video link from his solicitor's office at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena.

A prosecutor said police had been called to a report regarding a 'concern for safety' at Stiles Way.

A motorist said whilst they were driving the defendant "repeatedly came off the footpath and onto the road".

The driver was concerned for the safety of the defendant and stopped to check on his welfare but when Bell became "aggressive" the motorist had "restrained" him.

Police saw Bell being attended to by an Ambulance Service worker and the defendant was shouting loudly that he was a "member of the IRA and that he would shoot all of them".

The ambulance worker attempted to assess the defendant and he "continued to shout abuse towards her, throwing items at her".

Police warned him about his behaviour and was requested to calm down but he "shouted that he was the leader of the IRA and he would have them all shot".

When cautioned, Bell told police: "I am the leader of the IRA".

A defence solicitor said although the defendant had a record there had been an eleven year gap to this year.

He said Bell had "mental health issues" and had been admitted to Holywell Hospital five times.

The lawyer said Bell had a "considerable amount of drink taken and that coupled with mental health issues resulted in this verbal exchange with people who were only trying to help.

"He can't recall a great deal about it and apologises for his outburst".

The solicitor said Bell had "consumed spirits" that day but has now cut them out.

District Judge Nigel Broderick handed down a two months jail term, suspended for a year.