Northern Ireland news

Ulster University student 'threatened to slit ex-girlfriend's throat' in Facebook message

Padraig McLaughlin faces charges of threats to kill and damage property, harassment, persistent improper use of a public electronic communications network, and sending menacing messages

A university student allegedly sent a Facebook message threatening to break his ex-girlfriend's legs and slit her throat as part of a campaign of harassment, the High Court heard today.

Padraig McLaughlin is also accused of leaving a voicemail message telling the woman he was going to throw her dead body in to a canal.

Prosecution counsel claimed the 25-year-old defendant's former partner has been left terrified.

McLaughlin, of Ardfreelin in Newry, faces charges of threats to kill and damage property, harassment, persistent improper use of a public electronic communications network, and sending menacing messages.

Adjourning his bail application, a judge requested a psychiatric report to check for any obsessive tendencies.

McLaughlin is accused of subjecting the woman to continual messages after their relationship ended last November.

Crown lawyer Natalie Pinkerton detailed a series of alleged incidents between January 1 and September 11, including threatening to kill himself if they didn't get back together and following the woman home from work.

It was claimed that she received a voicemail from McLaughlin where he threatened to kill her before adding that he would throw her body "in the canal".

Referring to a further alleged incident earlier this month, Ms Pinkerton said: "He sent a Facebook message to one of the injured party's friends stating that he would break her legs and slit her throat.

"It's my understanding that the injured party is terrified of the applicant and is afraid any of these threats will be carried out."

The court was told McLaughlin studied for a building surveying degree in Liverpool, before transferring to the Ulster University.

Defence counsel said the accused didn't complete his final year due to the break-up.

But according to the barrister McLaughlin and the alleged victim remained in touch and discussed getting back together.

Referring to the Facebook message, counsel said: "He has no recollection of sending that message, but accepts on the day he had consumed alcohol and smoked cannabis."

Putting the application on hold, Lord Justice Stephens called for expert medical opinion.

He said: "I would be happier if some of the effort went into obtaining a psychiatric report to see whether there are obsessive tendencies or not."

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