Man chased girls with replica gun

A man who chased three girls through the Carnhill area with an imitation handgun, is to be sentenced at the crown court later today.

John McGinley, whose address was given on court papers as Bloomfield Park, pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm, threats to kill and resisting police.

The charges relate to an incident on March 25, last year.

Derry Crown Court heard the 42-year-old ran towards three girls as they walked in the Carnhill area. He pushed past two of them and grabbed one of them by the cardigan.

The court was told McGinley had what looked to be a black handgun in his hand and he shouted ‘you are all dead’.

The girls pushed the 42-year-old away and he dropped the gun. However he picked up the gun and chased them for a short distance.

A short time later a resident of Glendale heard a commotion in her street. She saw McGinley with the handgun banging at a door.

He then went back out onto the street and began waving the gun and shouting.

A car came around the corner at this point with a man, his wife and children inside. The 42-year-old stepped out in front of the car causing it to break sharply and he pointed the gun at the car for several seconds.

The court was told McGinley was disarmed by three men and was arrested by police later that evening. As he was arrested he struggled with police.

The handgun was handed into police a short time later by an unidentified male and was confirmed to be an imitation weapon.

A defence barrister told the court his client is a heroin addict, who began abusing substances from the age of 12. He said that McGinley had an ‘epiphany’ after the tragic death of a family member in 2009 and has tried to stay away from heroin since then.

The barrister told the court McGinley is ‘genuinely remorseful for the fear and terror he caused’. He urged the court to take into account the fact that the weapon was a replica and the 42-year-old ‘could not have caused harm even if he was so minded’.

Judge Philip Babington adjourned sentencing and McGinley was remanded in custody until later today.