Man threatened to kill couple

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A judge has said he has ‘very little sympathy’ for a man with mental health problems because he ‘chooses’ to refuse help he is offered.

District Judge Barney McElholm made the comment as 39-year-old Michael Luke McTaggart appeared at the local Magistrates Court.

McTaggart, of Faughanview Park, Claudy, pleaded guilty to making a threat to kill, a threat to destroy property and attempted criminal damage on November 4, last year.

The court heard the injured party was at her home with her partner when they heard a loud knock and banging at the window. This went for 45 minutes before police were called.

During this time, McTaggart shouted ‘I will f****** kill the both of you. I will burn you out if I have to’.

Defence counsel Paul Kearney told the court his client is a diagnosed schizophrenic and the last thing he remembered on this day was hearing voices.

He said McTaggart consumed alcohol to ‘anaesthetise these voices’.

Suspending a six month jail term for three years, District Judge Barney McElholm said the 39-year-old’s condition ‘while serious, was treatable with the correct medication’.

He added ‘I have very little sympathy for him. If he would stay away from alcohol he would live a largely stable life but he chooses not to.’

The judge said McTaggart ‘has to regard this as a watershed in his life’ and warned if he came back before the court ‘it’s prison’.

Judge McElholm also imposed a probation order and a restraining order.