A Creggan man who made death threats in the name of a vigilante group has been given a suspended prison sentence.
District Judge Barney McElhom described the actions of Martin White (50), of Linsfort Park - who admitted making threats to kill and attempted intimidation - as “bizarre and ill-conceived”.
The court heard that the community worker had sent text messages to the deputy editor of a local newspaper, two MLAs and family members of the injured party which warned that the man had 72 hours to leave the city or face execution at the hands of an armed group. In one of the text messages the defendant claimed he had just come from a meeting of RAAD where a motion was passed to kill the injured party if he did not leave town. He said that one member suggested “why don’t we do him at work”. The injured party’s employer also received a written message stating that the victim had been distributing drugs on the shop floor. The IP’s mother received a message stating that her son must leave Derry and go to Galway, adding: “It has been arranged for him to be shot this week”. The message also made reference to a young man who was shot dead in Co Donegal.
The court heard that police tracked the SIM card purchase along with a £10 top up voucher to a local phone shop. After observing CCTV footage, White was identified. Following a search of the defendant’s home a Samsung mobile phone was recovered. When shown pictures of him buying the phone, the defendant said he did not recall buying it.
Barrister Stephen Mooney said his client sent the messages because he thought he was “doing someone a favour”. He said a daughter of a good lady friend of the defendant was involved in a “pretty fractious” relationship with the IP and it ended in a bad state of affairs.
White, was given a four month prison sentence, suspended for two years.