Threat to kill suspect had shrine to notorious police killer in his home

Police found a shrine to murderer Dale Cregan when they searched Carl Robert Stirling's home
Police found a shrine to murderer Dale Cregan when they searched Carl Robert Stirling's home

A man who allegedly made threats to kill a judge had Nazi memorabilia and a shrine to notorious double police murderer Dale Cregan at his east Belfast home, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors claimed Carl Robert Stirling, 25, was also storing dozens of knives and multiple axes, including one embedded in a wall and another inscribed with the words “The wife”.

Police who carried out searches last month amid fears he had an improvised explosive device found imitation guns and books about serial killers at the property, a judge was told.

Stirling, of Holland Drive in the city, faces charges of threats to kill and threats to damage his own home, possession of imitation firearms, communicating false information about a bomb, and disorderly behaviour.

Refusing bail, Mr Justice Horner said: “This young man clearly requires medical treatment.”

Stirling had allegedly been irate and upset while on the phone with a tenancy support worker on December 18, telling him he had been up all night drinking and was due in court on a separate case the next day.

According to the prosecution he believed he was going to jail and stated that he was going to kill the judge in open court to ensure his incarceration.

During a further phone conversation Stirling repeated the threat and warned the support worker that if police were contacted he would detonate explosives made out of gas canisters, it was claimed.

“He stated that if police came to his house he would point an imitation firearm at them so they would shoot him dead,” a Crown lawyer said.

Stirling was then arrested amid an alleged bout of disorderly behaviour at Connswater car park on Bloomfield Avenue.

Police searches of his home were said to have uncovered flags and images linked to paramilitary organisations and “dozens” of knives all around the property.

“They found multiple axes, including one with the words ‘The wife’ on it,” prosecution counsel submitted.

“There was Nazi memorabilia and a framed photograph of Dale Cregan.”

Cregan is serving a life sentence for four murders, including Greater Manchester police officers Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, and father and son David and Mark Short.

Fake guns and martial arts nunchucks were also located, the court was told.

The prosecution confirmed no gas canister explosives were present, with just a small spray can and firework found.

According to the charge sheet he allegedly threatened to kill “judges, members of the public and anyone who got in his way”.

Defence counsel Richard McConkey said his client had been heavily intoxicated during the phone conversation.

“This is all perhaps bravado when speaking on the phone under the influence of drink,” he contended.

But Mr Justice Horner insisted: “He certainly seems to have put the fear of God into (the support worker).”

He also noted the finds made at Stirling’s home, pointing out: “One of the axes was embedded in a wall.”

Mr McConkey accepted: “It’s not normal behaviour to say the least; there’s books about serial killers (but) you can buy them in Easons or Waterstones.”

Responding to those submissions, the judge said it depended on who was making the purchases.

Denying bail, he cited the potential risk of reoffending.