Newtownards Court hears drunk man demanded female neighbour paid him £40 a week or 'paramilitaries' would force her out

Newtownards Court hears drunk man demanded female neighbour paid him £40 a week or 'paramilitaries' would force her out

A DRUNK man called at the home of a neighbour in Dundonald and demanded that she paid him £40 a week or else he would get "paramilitaries" to force her out of her home, a court has heard.

Ian Norman Ruddock (32), of Morven Park, Dundonald, admitted a charge of attempting 'to unlawfully cause, by force, threats or menaces, or in some other way, another person...to do a certain act, namely give you £40 per week, otherwise she would be thrown out of her flat by persons unknown'.

A prosecutor told Wednesday's Newtownards Magistrates Court that on December 7, 2020, the neighbour answered the door to a "heavily intoxicated" Ruddock who said if she did not pay him £40 a week he would get "paramilitaries to put her out of her address".

The court heard she felt "intimidated" and called police. Whilst officers were present the defendant arrived back at the address and was arrested.

The court heard there had been no further offences and the defendant, who was said to be moving to an address in Comber, had raised £250 as compensation to the victim.

District Judge Mark Hamill said it was a "sinister and strange" case in which Ruddock had been a "half-hearted extortionist".

The judge said it had "rebounded" on the defendant as he now was being ordered to pay £250 compensation to the woman.

Ordering Ruddock to do 80 hours of Community Service and putting him on Probation for 18 months with conditions that he gets addiction counselling, Judge Hamill told him such behaviour was "not tolerable".

The judge said the woman had been put in fear and suffered "stress and trauma".

He warned Ruddock: "Don't do this to anybody else ever again".
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