Man threatened to slit throat of housing employee

A man who threatened to slit the throat of a housing employee who denied him entry due to the pandemic has been jailed for a total of three months.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 4:11 pm
The Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast

William Johnston, 21, also told the victim he would throw him off railings during the confrontation in south Belfast.

Johnston, of no fixed abode, admitted threats to kill and possessing a Class C drug.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard he attempted to get into the accommodation block at Fitzroy Avenue on February 25.

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Prosecutors said an argument started when Johnston was told he could not get into the building because of the Covid-19 situation.

“A member of staff alleged that he squared up to him and said he would slit his throat and throw him off the railings,” a Crown lawyer submitted.

The victim expressed fear that the threats would be carried out.

When Johnston was arrested a single suspected Pregabalin pill was discovered on him.

Defence barrister Richard McConkey described it as “a very unsavoury incident” fuelled by his client’s drug dependency.

“Five weeks before this he was stabbed in an unprovoked attack, and has been dealing with the physical and mental fall-out,” counsel said.

“He was using Class C drugs in an attempt to self-medicate his pain and anxiety.”

Mr McConkey also stressed: “He never would have carried out any such threat, but accepts there would have been a fear on this man’s behalf.”

Based on Johnston’s guilty pleas, District Judge George Conner imposed a total sentence of three months custody.