Man accused of arming himself with machete

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66
Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

A 42-year-old man allegedly chased two neighbours while armed with a machete, a court has heard.

Brian Stokes, of Cornshell Fields, is charged with common assault and possession of an offensive weapon on October 7.

Derry Magistrates Court heard allegations that Stokes ‘came at’ his neighbours a short distance away from his home.

He allegedly spat on one of them and headbutted the other.

An investigating officer told the court the alleged assault occurred in front of children and has left the injured parties and their families ‘extremely concerned for their safety’.

It is alleged the incident was ‘unprompted’ and Stokes was intoxicated at the time.

The court also heard allegations the 42-year-old’s family were trying to take him away, but he was so drunk they ‘couldn’t bring him under control’.

Opposing bail, the officer said police have concerns Stokes would fail to surrender to the court and to stay away from the Cornshell Fields area.

She also raised concerns about the proposed bail address in Cedar Street.

The officer said this address was owned by a man well-known to the court who ‘would not be a particularly good influence on the defendant’.

Defence solicitor Margaret Breslin told the court her client denies the offences and would be willing to abide by any bail conditions imposed.

District Judge Barney McElholm queried: “Where on earth does one buy a machete in this country.”

He said he did not believe the bail address was suitable as the other tenant is a ‘recidivist offender who has severe problems with drugs and alcohol’.

However, the judge said he would give Stokes ‘a chance. It will probably all end in tears.”

Stokes was released on his own bail of £500 to reside in Cedar Street. He was ordered to abide by a curfew and be electronically tagged.

The 42-year-old is also banned from consuming alcohol, from contacting the alleged injured parties and from going within one mile of Cornshell Fields.

He will appear in court again on November 6.