Co Armagh man ‘threatened to burn ex-wife in her bed’

When Michael Farrell was arrested police found a container of petrol

When Michael Farrell was arrested police found a container of petrol

A man discovered with a container of petrol had allegedly threatened to tie his ex-wife to a bed and burn her house down, the High Court has heard.

Michael Farrell phoned the woman to say he was at a filling station and planning an arson attack on her home, prosecutors claimed.

The 40-year-old accused, of Bann Street in Portadown, Co Armagh, denies charges of threats to kill, threats to damage property and possession of an offensive weapon over the incident on September 15.

Granting Farrell bail on what he described as “chilling” allegations, a judge banned him from entering the village where his estranged wife now lives.

The court heard the couple separated following a tempestuous relationship of nearly 20 years.

Crown counsel said the woman claims Farrell made a late-night abusive phone call to her, stating: “I’m in the petrol station and I’m going to get petrol and burn your house out.”

It was alleged that he then threatened: “I’m going to tie you to the bed and make sure you burn.”

The prosecutor added: “She was extremely distressed, she told police that she believed he was capable of doing this.”

Officers who arrested Farrell at his home also seized a milk container full of petrol, the court heard.

He claimed to have the fuel for his petrol lawnmower.

Stressing the charges were all denied, defence counsel said Farrell had just started a handyman business and purchased the petrol for a gardening job the following day.

Lord Justice Weatherup was also told the accused now lives 47 miles from his ex-wife.

Acknowledging the distance between them, the judge ruled that Farrell could be bailed on condition that he has no contact with the alleged victim.

He commented: “It’s a chilling matter – he was allegedly phoning this woman to come round and burn her house down and tie her down and burn her.”