Serial Cannabis user accused of bow and arrow and axe attack

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A man accused of attempting to shoot a neighbour with a bow and arrow, was a serial Cannabis user who stopped taking his prescribed medication a few months ago, Derry Magistrate’s Court has heard.

Brian Gerald Forbes (48), from Glenanne, appeared on Wednesday charged with attempted murder; making threats to kill; common assault; possession of an offensive weapon and criminal damage.

A detective told the court how the injured party told police he was in bed at his Glendara home watching TV but was disturbed and got up to observe Forbes standing outside loading a “large bow and arrow.” He said that when he went outside he heard Forbes say: “I’m going to kill you” and also heard him ask: “where’s my axe?’

The injured party went back inside, imploring the defendant to stop, while intermittently opening and closing the door. He said Forbes made a further threat to kill and shouted, “get on your bike”, the detective added.

Forbes shot an arrow into the door which the injured party tried to pull out. At this point the injured party said Forbes moved towards him with the axe and struck the door seven or eight times.

The defendant denied making threats to kill or pointing the arrow at the injured party. Forbes said he had been in his house “dozing on and off” the night before the events and told police he hadn’t had a good Christmas, and had been thinking about his estranged friend, the injured party.

He admitted leaving his home with the intention of breaking a window and letting some of the heat out of the injured party’s house and chopping down the door. He told police he had intended these actions to have had a “psychological effect” on the injured party. Forbes and his neighbour, an American, had first met when working on building sites in England in 1992 and the accused claimed he had helped the latter settle in Derry after he moved here. When the friendship broke down Forbes told police he felt it had been a “slap in the teeth”.

Defence solicitor Eugene Burns said his client had been a regular user of Cannabis for about 20 years and that he had also been recently engaging with the health service over mental health issues.

Mr Burns said: “It’s an incident, I think it’s fair to say, isolated, by my client, in circumstances where he’d disengaged with his medical appointments.”

District Judge Barney McElholm refused bail until it was supported by a full written package from health experts.

“The public has every right to say to the courts we can’t have people walking around with bows and arrows and axes,” he said.

Forbes was remanded to appear again on January 12.