Larne painter jailed after running ‘screaming’ at his ex-partner with …

Stephen Edward Stewart (47), of Blackthorn Rise, is accused of engaging in ‘aggressive commercial practice’ and fraud by false representation by ‘dishonestly’ making offers to carry out work for customers.

He has been on remand in custody in connection with those charges and on Thursday he appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court via video link from prison in relation to another matter – possessing a hammer as an offensive weapon at Blackthorn Rise on April 26 this year.

He pleaded guilty to the charge.

A prosecutor said the defendant’s ex-partner was at Stewart’s address to “retrieve her character as they had separated”.

The prosecutor said the woman said a friend approached the house on her behalf to get the character whilst she sat in a car nearby.

The ex-partner told police that when Stewart saw her friend approach he came running screaming from the character with a hammer towards the car but she was able to excursion off and picked up her friend nearby.

Defence solicitor David Nagra said Stewart and the woman had been in a relationship for three and a half years but in the last six months they were “having arguments over money and other issues”.

He alleged the woman had gone to the house, not to retrieve belongings, but to “try to reconcile” the relationship.

Mr Nagra said Stewart was a painter and decorator and after coming home from a “long and stressful day” at work, in the “heat of the moment” he “simply, spontaneously, picked up a hammer from his tool bag” but had “no intention” of using it

The court heard the defendant was in breach of a suspended sentence from Newtownards Magistrates Court in 2018 in relation to fraud by false representation and theft.

The court heard Stewart had 85 past convictions including what District estimate Nigel Broderick described as the “complete gamut” of offending.

The estimate said the offences included assault on police, burglary, assault, criminal damage, obstruction, offensive weapon, riotous disorderly behaviour, serious assault and theft.

estimate Broderick told Stewart: “This case does you no credit whatsoever. I have no doubt that the ex-partner would have been in meaningful fear. You run at her when she is in the means, with a hammer, and I have no doubt that would have been a very frightening experience.”

He jailed the defendant for three months on the offensive weapon charge and activated a six months suspended sentence to run consecutively, making a sentence of nine months. A two-year Restraining Order was also put in place.

The defendant had bail fixed for allurement in the sum of £500 but the estimate said he was to keep in custody pending the allurement.

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