A MAN with a knife was allegedly “goading” a PSNI officer to shoot him in a “suicide-by-cop” incident before barricading himself into his home and setting off fireworks towards police, a court has been told.
It was alleged Gareth Hyndman had thrown the knife which narrowly missed two PSNI officers and when officers withdrew from the defendant’s flat in Kilrea to await the arrival of a specialist armed response unit the defendant is accused of donning a balaclava and shooting fireworks out of windows in the direction of police.
Antrim Magistrates Court, on Tuesday, was told that Hyndman (44), of Coleraine Street in Kilrea, allegedly committed offences at his home in the early hours of Monday.
The defendant is accused of possessing a ‘large kitchen knife’ as an offensive weapon’; attempting to cause grievous bodily harm to two police officers; making threats to kill the officers; possessing and using fireworks without a licence and possession of cannabis.
A police officer told the court he believed he could connect the defendant, who appeared via video link, to the charges.
Objecting to bail the officer said around 2.30am on Monday November 2 police received a report from a firm which monitors electronic tags, that the defendant, who was on bail for alleged offences including going equipped for theft, had left home at midnight and returned home at 2am in breach of a curfew.
When officers went to the property they entered through an unlocked door and saw a pair of soaked trainers and Hyndman was in a bedroom.
The defendant, who has 193 previous convictions, was told he was going to be arrested for a bail breach and “immediately bolted” into a kitchen and grabbed a large kitchen knife.
Hyndman allegedly yelled at police “I’m not f**king going to jail, I’ll f**king kill you”. A police officer shouted a warning to colleagues that the defendant was armed with a knife and then had drawn his service weapon and pointed the pistol at the defendant to put down the knife.
The defendant continued to shout and was aggressive and made threats that “either police should shoot him or he would stab himself” and then shouted: “Get the f**k out of my house”.
Hyndman advanced rapidly towards police with the knife “brandished and raised in his right hand” and police moved back and pushed a sofa towards the kitchen door to make a “physical barrier”.
The court was told Hyndman stabbed the kitchen door a number of items whilst shouting at police: “I’m going to stab youse b**tards” before he forcefully threw the knife at police officers.
The officer told the court the knife “narrowly passed between” two officers and hit living room curtains.
At this point, the court heard, the officers withdrew and “contained” Hyndman in the flat and a specialist armed response unit was tasked to the scene.
The officer said the defendant locked the door and began barricading himself in by placing furniture behind the door
The court was told Hyndman then came to a front window of his flat wearing a balacalava and started shouting at police officers on the street.
He then produced a “large Roman Candle style” firework which he lit within the property and held out the window and the firework “shot multiple times over the heads of the police officers”.
Hyndman then produced a “very large rocket-style” firework and threatened to light it within the flat but failed to do so.
The officer said, other flats in the building were evacuated by police “due to the risk of fire” and the Fire Service were called.
At 3.30am the armed response team “forced their way into the flat” and used a taser three times to bring the defendant under control.
After arrest the defendant told police: “It was all accidental”.
The officer said that during interview the defendant said he had picked up the knife “because police pulled their guns on him first” and denied throwing a knife saying it was a jam jar.
The officer said the defendant said he “saw red” because he felt threatened by the actions of police and that he stabbed the door as a result.
The officer said police objected to bail based on the risk of re-offending and the need to protect the public and preserve public order.
The policeman added: “My concerns are that these are very serious offences committed whilst on court bail.
“We are lucky that no one was seriously injured or killed.”
He said the defendant “demonstrated a real intent” to cause serious harm to himself or police.
The officer added: “In fact he was threatening suicide-by-cop, goading the police officer to shoot him”.
The policeman said neighbours were shocked at what they had witnessed and would not feel safe in their homes if the defendant returned.
A defence barrister said Hyndman had “protested to police” when they arrived that there had been a difficulty with his monitoring tag.
The lawyer said that despite the defendant’s assertions about the tag he was told he was still going to be arrested.
The barrister added: “It sounds as if things escalated very quickly to the point that police have drawn guns and are pointing them at a man with no shoes in his own kitchen”.
The lawyer said the “bulk of the verbals” seemed to involve Hyndman causing him to himself.
He said it was a “very unusual set of circumstances” and not likely to reoccur.
District Judge Nigel Broderick said the behaviour was “concerning” and along with the previous convictions he said there was a high risk of offending and refused bail.
The case was adjourned to November 23 to Ballymena Courthouse.