Jail for man who told girls ‘you are dead’

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A man who chased three girls with an imitation gun has been jailed for 21 months.

John McGinley, of Bloomfield Park, admitted possessing the imitation firearm, making a threat to kill and resisting police on March 25, last year.

Derry Crown Court heard a girl was walking with two friends in the Carnhill area when they heard a shout from behind them.

The 42-year-old ran up to the girls, grabbed one of them and had an imitation handgun in his hand.

He shouted: ‘You are all dead’ before the girl pushed him away and ran off.

A short time later a women saw McGinley in the Glendale area waving the gun about and shouting.

A car approached with a couple and their two children. McGinley forced it to stop by standing in the middle of the road. He pointed the weapon at the car but the driver made off.

A short time later police saw him staggering on a grassy area with a piece of wood in his hand.

He was restrained by police and arrested. The imintation firearm was handed into police by an unidentified male.

At interview, McGinley claimed he had been assaulted by a group of youths and denied everything else. He also denied being drunk but later told police he believed his drink had been spiked.

A defence barrister said that McGinley came from a ‘difficult background’ and had been abusing substances since he was 12.

He said following the tragic death of his brother in 2009 he had tried to stop taking heroin but had substituted this for alcohol.

He added he was ‘genuinely remorseful for the fear and terror he had caused’.

Passing sentence Judge Philip Babington said this incident would have been ‘very frightening’ for the injured parties.

He sentenced the 42-year-old to 21 months in prison and ordered that following his release he should be tagged and under curfew for the first three months.