‘Man threatened to set himself on fire’, court told

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POLICE went to Macosquin after receiving a report a man was walking around very drunk and was threatening to set himself on fire, a court was told.

When officers arrived at Ramsey Park on the night of July 2 this year, they discovered a petrol can in the front garden of Dean McAfee’s home and he used abusive language to the PSNI.

A defence barrister said police went to the area concerned about the safety of McAfee (43) - who had 145 previous convictions - but his client would take issue that it was him with petrol.

He said his client would say he does not have enough petrol to fill his lawnmower “never mind to throw over himself”.

However, the lawyer, accepted McAfee was drunk at the time and that his client’s actions in being abusive to police were “beyond the pale”.

The defence barrister said his client previously had problems with alcohol but has been sober for a period and appeared to be winning the battle with drink.

North Antrim Magistrates’ Court heard that McAfee had been sitting on a suspended jail term, but the defence barrister argued that as a direct alternative to custody, McAfee could carry out Community Service.

He said the state should not have to pay to keep McAfee in prison for the sake of “a bit of bad language” used against police officers.

The lawyer said McAfee knows he is on extremely thin ice and he was asking for a final chance to show that when he is alcohol free he is a respectable and worthy member of society.

District Judge, Richard Wilson, described McAfee as a “nuisance” to the community and despite previously being in jail still has not learned.

“What sort of an idiot are you?” he asked McAfee.

The defendant said he was trying to get on top of a drink problem and Mr Wilson said are many people have a drink problem but they do not create a nuisance or accummulate 145 previous convictions.

District Judge Wilson said he would try to save the taxpayer some money and get some work out of McAfee and he ordered him to carry out the maximum 240 hours of Community Service.