'Legal High' addict 'threatened to kill man'

A MAN, who is addicted to the controversial 'legal high' drug mephedrone, allegedly threatened to kill a man in Dunloy, a court heard.

Darren Casey (23), of Claragh Hill Grange, Kilrea, is alleged to have committed the offence on February 2 whilst visiting his girlfriend’s house in the Garryduff Road area of Dunloy, North Antrim Magistrates Court in Coleraine was told last Wednesday.

He is alleged to have threatened to kill a man and he is further alleged to have been in breach of an ASBO which bans him from causing alarm or distress.

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A police officer told the court she believed she could connect the accused to the charge.

She said she was not the investigating officer but that that officer was objecting to bail over a fear of interference with witnesses.

She said the injured party - a neighbour of a house Mr Casey attends regularly in Dunloy - is “very frightened” of the defendant.

The police officer said the PSNI also fear Mr Casey, who is on a suspended sentence for similar offences, will re-offend.

Whilst questioning the officer in the witness box, a defence lawyer said his client has taken a ‘legal high’ drug for four days and, two nights before the court sitting, he had attempted to commit suicide.

The defence lawyer said Mr Casey had previously lived in Ballymena and was the victim of a serious assault in 2006 when he sustained a brain injury which caused ongoing psychological trauma.

The lawyer said Mr Casey moved to Kilrea and had been doing quite well up until a number of months ago when he suffered depression and has attempted suicide three times over a nine month period.

The court heard that if bailed Mr Casey could live with his parents in Kilrea some nine miles from Dunloy and that he would go straight to a GP for assessment.

The court heard that on the night before the court appearance Mr Casey was seen by a Crisis Response Team from the Ross Thompson Hospital in Ballymoney.

The defence lawyer claimed his client was suffering from withdrawal symptoms from the ‘legal high’ drug mephedrone.

Deputy District Judge Peter Prenter said one way of dealing with withdrawal symptoms was going ‘cold turkey’ in prison.

The defence lawyer said Mr Casey was at his girlfriend’s home and police were called and there was some “argy-bargy” outside the house.

Mr Prenter said the Crisis Response Team obviously did not believe Mr Casey had to be monitored in a mental institution.

Mr Casey’s father went into the witness box and said he would be prepared for his son to come home if granted bail and he will try to keep him at the house.

He revealed he witnessed his own son trying to commit suicide and he said his son does need a lot of help.

Mr Prenter agreed to release the accused on bail of 500 with a surety of 500.

Other conditions include being banned from entering Dunloy and the area of Garryduff Road along with a curfew from 9pm to 8am.

He said Mr Casey should seek and follow-up any medical treatment as instructed by his GP and should not consume alcohol, illicit drugs or the ‘legal high’ drug mephedrone and police have the power to test him for such substances.

He was ordered not to interfere with any witnesses and the case was adjourned to March.