Northern Ireland

Man jailed for two years for having imitation firearm

Kenneth Edward James McIntyre (37), of Sandbrook Grove, had previously pleaded guilty to possessing a replica handgun with intent to cause fear of violence
Kenneth Edward James McIntyre (37), of Sandbrook Grove, had previously pleaded guilty to possessing a replica handgun with intent to cause fear of violence Kenneth Edward James McIntyre (37), of Sandbrook Grove, had previously pleaded guilty to possessing a replica handgun with intent to cause fear of violence

An east Belfast man with an "appalling'' record of 242 criminal convictions has been jailed for two years for having an imitation firearm.

Kenneth Edward James McIntyre (37), of Sandbrook Grove, had previously pleaded guilty to possessing a replica handgun with intent to cause fear of violence and three counts of assault.

He further admitted the attempted theft of a case of Carlsberg beer worth £9.69, criminal damage and resisting police.

Prosecution barrister Philip Henry told Belfast Crown that at 7.30 pm on April 8 2022, the defendant went into the Russells off licence on the Ravenhill Road in the east of the city.

Dressed in a green North Face tracksuit, Mr Henry said the defendant tried to leave with the case of beer and when challenged, he lifted his top to show off a silver handgun in his waistband and said to a male member of staff: "Do you see that?''

The prosecutor told Judge Philip Gilpin a pregnant female member of staff moved behind the till as she "feared she was going to be assaulted''.

She told police that McIntyre lifted his top and said to her: "Do you know who I am? I have a gun and I am not afraid to use it.''

After leaving the shop, McIntyre assaulted an elderly man and struck him to the side of his eye with the victim's mobile before jumping on the phone and smashing it.

Police arrived on the scene, said Mr Henry, and McIntyre resisted arrest and officers had to use an incapacitant spray on him.

In a follow up search of the area, police recovered the replica gun from a bin at nearby Donard Street.

The prosecution lawyer said McIntyre had an "appalling'' criminal record with 242 entries which were mostly for violence and one previous weapon offence.

Defence barrister Kelly Doherty said McIntyre was intoxicated at the time and had also taken the prescription drug Pregabalin.

"He is remorseful and apologises for his behaviour. He accepts that this was a frightening experience for people in the shop. He has taken quite significant steps in custody to address his alcohol and drug issues,'' she added.

Judge Gilpin told McIntyre: "You clearly carried the weapon for the purpose of causing fear of violence to innocent third parties.

"You made the weapon visible and you caused fear of violence in a small commercial premises where staff are inherently vulnerable and in this circumstance one member of staff was pregnant.

"Your criminal conduct involved the actual use of violence on an elderly man and gratuitously smashed his mobile telephone.''

After two years in custody, Judge Gilpin said McIntyre would spend a further two years on supervised release licence.

The judge also ordered the destruction of the replica firearm.