A COLERAINE man who threatened to kill two alcohol counsellors was given suspended sentences at North Antrim Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
55-year-old James Trevor Lyttle of Daneshill Road was also fined and ordered to stay away from a female alcohol outreach worker.
The court heard that on September 23 this year a female alcohol outreach worker received eight calls to her work mobile phone number from Lyttle.
The messages ranged from being extremely abusive to making threats to kill. Police listened to the messages and arrested the defendant.
When interviewed, Lyttle said he could not remember making the calls as he was so intoxicated, however, he apologised for the upset he had caused the female worker.
The court also heard that the female alcohol outreach worker had been helping Lyttle on a particular programme but he had been asked to stay away from the project because of his drinking.
The PPS representative in court said that the female worker was very worried about working alone in her office as it is “a stone’s throw” away from the defendant’s address.
For that reason, the PPS applied to have a restraining order taken out against Lyttle to force him to stay away from the female.
In a second charge, the court heard that three days later on September 26th, a male alcohol outreach worker received six calls to his work mobile phone from Lyttle.
These again ranged from being extremely abusive to making threats to kill. They were also sectarian in nature as Lyttle called the worker “a Fenian”.
Again when interviewed, Lyttle said he could not remember making the calls but apologised for the upset caused.
Defence solicitor for Lyttle said that his client had had an alcohol problem since his teenage years.
He said that his client was extremely intoxicated when he made the calls and wanted to specifically apologise to the female counsellor whom, he said, had helped him the most with his alcohol addiction.
She had, in fact, helped him to stay off drink for 18 months. He said that his client was ashamed of his behaviour.
District Judge Richard Wilson said that it had been “an unpleasant experience for the lady who, by your own admission, had done you some good in your alcohol problem.”
He said that if Lyttle persisted with this type of behaviour, there would only be one method left for the court to use and it wouldn’t be a suspended sentence but an immediate one.
He sentenced Lyttle to six months in jail on each of the two charges, suspended for three years, to run concurrently.
Judge Wilson also fined him £250 on each and imposed a restraining order on him with regard to the female outreach worker for two years.