Man accused of assaults and causing damage in Claudy bar

Bishop Street courthouse.
Bishop Street courthouse.

A Co. Donegal man accused of assaulting three people in a bar in Claudy who was later found by police allegedly holding a rifle wanted ‘suicide by cop’, a court has heard.

Leon Kelly, of Beechwood Grove, Lifford, is charged with attempted grievous bodily harm with intent, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and possessing a firearm in suspicious circumstances.

The 31-year-old is further charged with common assault, criminal damage and disorderly behaviour on licensed premises.

The charges relate to an alleged incident in the Beaufort House in Claudy on August 24.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard that police received a 999 call from the landlord who reported an ongoing disturbance.

Officers attended and bar staff named the defendant as the person responsible for considerable damage caused to the bar.

It is alleged the bar was covered in glass and barstools have been thrown around. A 200-year-old mirror, which was described in court as irreplaceable, was also damaged.

CCTV was examined and allegedly shows an elderly man coming out of a bathroom and being confronted by the defendant.

It is alleged the man is punched to the face and knocked to the ground while Kelly shouted ‘you orange b**tards’.

A second male was hit on the hand with a barstool and is believed to have a number of broken fingers.

The court heard allegations a door supervisor was also allegedly struck in the face with a glass and sustained a cut to his lip, while a woman suffered a sore ankle as a result of chairs being thrown.

Police went to a caravan on the Gortilea Road where the defendant was staying and allegedly found him inside holding a long-barrelled rifle.

The court heard officers challenged Kelly with their firearms and demanded that he place the rifle on the ground, which he did.

Kelly was arrested and during police interview claimed the gun was a toy. He also allegedly apologised for his behaviour.

Opposing bail, an investigating officer said police have concerns the defendant will commit further offences or interfere with the investigation.

She added that police are also concerned Kelly is a ‘risk to himself and others’ and intended police to shoot him on arrival at the caravan.

Defence counsel Eoghan Devlin applied for the bail application to be listed on a later date as he would like his client to be assessed by a medical professional.

He told the court: “It does seem that the before the court would consider bail it would probably want a psychologist’s report and some form of bail package in place.”

Kelly was remanded in custody to appear in court again on September 12.