Northern Ireland news

Man who randomly attacked two women jailed for six months

A MAN who randomly attacked two women and also said he had a bomb in a bag at Altnagelvin Hospital has been jailed for six months.

William James Rankin (47) of Drumard Park in Derry admitted a series of offences that occurred on June 30 and July 13 last year.

Derry Magistrates Court heard that on June 30 Rankin was at the A&E department at Altnagelvin Hospital and was about to be discharged when he told nurses he had a bomb in his bag.

He said he wanted to blow himself up but didn't want to hurt others.

Other people in the hospital heard him and the court heard they were left "distressed".

The bag was carried out by staff to the helipad and after it was discovered the bag contained nothing but clothes.

When interviewed by police Rankin said "the people's republic made me do it."

He said he had been hallucinating and believed there was a bomb in the bag.

The court also heard that on July 13 at 8.20am police were called to an incident in Lawrence Hill and spoke to a woman who had swelling around her eye.

She told police that she was walking to work and an unknown male began shouting at her saying she was "a cop" who was following him.

He then pushed her against railings and grabbed her by the throat before head-butting her.

He continued to hold her by the throat when she fell to the ground before members of the public intervened.

Police were outside another address in Lawrence Hill where they had been told Rankin had gone when they heard a woman screaming inside.

They used force to enter and saw Rankin assaulting the householder.

She told police she had seen Rankin entering the property on CCTV and approached him as she knew he was not a resident.

Defence counsel Sean Doherty said these were "very serious offences".

He said Rankig had suffered from "drug induced psychosis" and had been paranoid and delusional.

District Judge Barney McElholm said that any mental health issues were "almost certainly self inflicted due to over consumption of drugs."

Rankin was sentenced to six months in prison and had an enhanced combination order imposed of two years probation and 60 hours community service.

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