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Man used Facebook Messenger to say he would petrol bomb a property

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BT Coleraine

A man used the social media facility Facebook Messenger to threaten a man that he would petrol bomb his home.

Scott McElwee (24), of Tamlough Park, Ballykelly, wrote: ‘I will put petrol bombs clean through your windows’.

The defendant was at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday via video link from prison, and he admitted a charge of improper use of communications to cause anxiety.

The court heard the incident happened in January this year.

McElwee told police a man had sent messages to a member of his family and he was “angry”.

The defendant told police he didn’t know where the man lived and had no intention of carrying out the threat.

Meanwhile, McElwee also pleaded guilty to charges relating to February 8 this year when he damaged his mother’s furniture and threatened to cause further damage.

Police found he was in possession of Pregabalin tablets.

He told police he had made that threat “out of anger”.

A defence lawyer said the Facebook Messenger incident happened when “derogatory remarks” had been made about a family member of McElwee’s.

Regarding the incident with his mother the defendant “felt bad” afterwards and “held his hands up”.

The lawyer said the defendant’s mum would allow him back in the house.

District Judge Peter King told McElwee the Facebook incident had been “just sheer stupidity”.

He told the defendant: “Whatever you may view as ‘banter’ online has the potential for you to end up in custody”.

The defendant, who had a previous record, was given a four months jail term, suspended for 18 months.

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