Bail was refused in the case of a Dungloe man, who appeared in court charged with threatening to kill his next door neighbour.
Anthony Ward was before Letterkenny District Court after making repeated threats on the life of Tony Walsh yesterday, January 17, 2018.
The parties were said to have been embroiled in an ongoing dispute since last August. At 5:46am yesterday, Ward sent Donegal County Council – whom he rents his house at 28 Ard Crone, Dungloe, from – an email in which he made a threat on Walsh.
Garda responded to a 999 call at 12:30pm, by which time both were inside their respective homes.
Council staff indicated that they were concerned by the contents of the email. Ward was alleged to have attempted to assault Mr Walsh using a garden weed brush and scraper. During the course of the alleged assault, Ward was said to have handed Walsh a note saying: ‘I will kill you’.
Ward was arrested and taken to Milford Garda Station, where he was held in custody.
After being charged at 9:15pm, Ward responded to three charges: ‘I didn’t assault anyone’; ‘F*** off’; and ‘the c*** is lucky to be alive. When I get out, I’lll kill him.’
Garda Kelly said Ward subsequently destroyed the charge sheets he had been given.
Garda Kelly said that there were a number of grounds for objecting to bail: the nature of the accusation against Ward, the most serious being a threat to kill or cause serious harm; one count of damaging property at the Garda station; evidence that had been presented against the accused; and the possible intimidation of witnesses.
The court heard that, at 5:46am on January 17 2018, an email was sent to Donegal County Council in which Ward outlined his dissatisfaction with his neighbour, Mr Walsh.
“He informed Donegal County Council that he was going to kill his neighbour,” Garda Kelly said.
“I spoke to Mr Ward at his home and he reiterated the threat on a number of occasions There is a massive concern here with the threat to kill his next door neighbour.
“This began as a noise dispute about a dog on 12 August 2017 and has escalated to this point. There is a fear that he would carry out this threat if he is bailed.”
Solicitor for the accused, Mr Patsy Gallagher, said his client suffered from ill health and was blind in one eye. Mr Gallagher said the incident yesterday morning was the ’straw that broke the camel’s back’.
He said: “The email was sent in haste and frustration. There are issues with a dog, with rubbish and intimidation.
“These are two almost-retired neighbours who should know better. It is a nuisance situation. This was a spur of the moment. There has been no physical assault. It has all been noise.”
Ward alleged that he was continually ‘harassed’ by Walsh and that he had ongoing medical issues.
“I can’t see where i going half the time,” Ward told the court.
“I have to use a walking stick, I am totally blind in one eye and half blind in the other.
“He (Walsh) tried to attack me. He was banging outside my house last week with a hammer. What I said was in haste. I am living in fear because of the harassment.
“They were words of anger because of the situation. He is a very aggressive and violent man. He keeps trying to attack me.
“I couldn’t defend myself, never mind hurt anyone. They are idle threats, more in panic, fear and anxiety, have no intention whatsoever. So many times he has tried to attack me and I need medication to eat, sleep and relax in any way.”
Inspector David Murphy said Ward’s actions ‘demonstrate a lack of control’.
He said: “It wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction. Haste suggests spontaneity, but it doesn’t appear here if haste of spontaneity was involved here.”
Judge Paul Kelly said he had ‘grave concerns’ given the way Ward had replied to questions from both Inspector Murphy and the Judge.
“They were all attempts to justify making the threats,” Judge Kelly said.
“I can understand strain, exasperation and annoyance, but this is in a different category. This happened over a protracted 16-hour period. He said it and repeated it. He sent an email, he delivered a handwritten note and continued, repeated over eight hours with the Gardai, making threats to the point of a very colourful threat when charged.”
Judge Kelly refused bail and ordered a psychological assessment to aid the court in the matter.