Jail term for man who threatened to punch ex-girlfriend

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A 25-years-old homeless man who threatened to punch his ex-girlfriend after turning up at her home drunk earlier this year, was released with time served after appearing at Derry Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

Stephen McColgan, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to two counts of common assault, when he appeared via videolink from Maghaberry Prison on Thursday.

A Public Prosecution Service (PPS) solicitor told the court how, on March 1 this year, police received a complaint from a woman, McColgan’s former partner, following two altercations over the two days, February 28 and March 1. The solicitor said the woman contacted police and told them that she had been at her home address when McColgan showed up in a drunken state at around 10pm on the evening of February 28. McColgan entered the property but was asked to leave by the injured party, the court heard. According to the injured party McColgan refused to leave and became aggressive towards her, making various gestures, feigning punches, but without actually hitting her, the PPS solicitor said. McColgan left the property at approximately midnight, his ex-girlfriend told police. The PPS solicitor explained how on the following day, March 1, the injured party met McColgan again in the city centre. She said that at one stage she was walking along the Foyle Road and that she tried to break up with the defendant but he again became aggressive towards her, the court heard. When he was eventually arrested following the official complaint he told police, “I didn’t assault her.”

During police interview McColgan admitted that he had had a verbal altercation with the injured party. However, he claimed he had gone to the injured party’s house at approximately 9pm on the day of the assault, but denied that he had been asked to leave the property, the court heard.

In fact he said he had actually spent the night there. He told police that the Housing Executive came to fix a window the following morning and that he had accompanied the injured party to the Post Office and, subsequently, the Ice Wharf pub, the court heard. McColgan said he and the injured party had had a disagreement over a quantity of tobacco. McColgan’s defence solicitor, Ciaran McGuinness, explained that McColgan had already spent a period in custody and that he was currently homeless. He explained that the Methodist Mission was yesterday, June 1, holding a bed as McColgan’s case was being heard. The Mission regarded McColgan as a ‘model resident’ and would take him immediately if he was released. District Judge Barney McElholm agreed to facilitate McColgan’s release by imposing two concurrent one month jail terms in light of his guilty plea yesterday.