Northern Ireland news

Man (38) allegedly threatened to kill former employee's wife and child after fall-out over pay, court told

A man allegedly threatened to kill a former employee's wife and child after they fell out over pay, a court has heard.

Ryan Phillips (38) received a four-month suspended sentence for a campaign of harassment against the other man involving "unpleasant and sinister" comments.

Phillips, of Thornleigh Avenue in Newtownards, Co Down, committed the offence on dates between April and July 2019.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard he had a working relationship with the victim which broke down following a dispute about money owed.

Prosecution counsel Stephanie Boyd claimed Phillips repeatedly phoned the other man from an unknown number.

"In one call he stated 'I'm going to kill your wife and son'," the barrister said.

Further alleged threats were made during demands to know if police had been contacted - but these were not taken seriously by the injured party.

During police interviews Phillips claimed he had forgotten making the calls.

Defence solicitor Pat Kelly said his client had employed the victim in his business until the arrangement ended in a row over payment.

He contended that Phillips had been "pestered", but then "overstepped the mark".

Mr Kelly added: "He apologises profusely."

Phillips was convicted on a single charge of harassment.

Suspending the prison term for 18 months, District Judge Fiona Bagnall said: "I realise the comments were not taken seriously, but they were very unpleasant and sinister comments."

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