Four months’ jail for ‘unpleasant attempt at intimidation’ of Carrick man

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A man currently on remand in custody charged with the murder of high profile loyalist George Gilmore in Carrickfergus earlier this year, on Thursday was jailed for four months for what a judge said was an “unpleasant attempt at intimidation” of a man in the town last October.

Samuel David McMaw (28), of Starbog Road, in Kilwaughter near Larne, appeared at Ballymena Magistrate’s Court via video link from Maghaberry Jail, for sentencing on charges of causing criminal damage to a window belonging to a man and having an offensive weapon, a hammer, with intent to commit criminal damage.

A co-accused, Kenneth Graffin (33), of Rockfergus Avenue, Carrickfergus, who appeared in the dock at the court, was sentenced for similar charges and he also received four months in jail.

His criminal damage charge was to the front door of the man’s house.

Both men had previously contested the charges but were found guilty.

A prosecutor said the injured party said a window was smashed in his house and he saw a number of individuals wearing dark clothing and balaclavas but recognised the two defendants as they were not wearing balaclavas.

The man received a cut to his arm by flying glass and he saw both men with hammers smashing glass and then saw them flee in a car which was burnt out nearby.

The prosecutor said during interview both men denied the allegations and both said they were “ill on the night in question”.

Graffin’s defence lawyer, Michael Ward, said his client “continues to deny any involvement in the index offence”.

Mr Ward said: “There was some bad blood in the community at that time”.

McMaw’s defence barrister Neil Moore said his client was currently on remand “for the utmost serious of allegations” which was a reference to him being charged with murdering Mr Gilmore in Carrickfergus in March this year.

Sentencing McMaw and Graffin, District Judge Peter King said: “This was an unpleasant attempt at intimidation where gross violence was displayed against property in Carrickfergus”.

He said he had convicted both men on each of the charges they faced and he praised the “courage” of the injured party in attending court to give evidence during the contested case.

Both defendants had bail fixed to appeal and were ordered to have no contact with the injured party or any others connected with the case.

Graffin was released but McMaw remains in custody on the murder charge.