Man allegedly pointed ‘family heirloom’ replica gun at police who came to arrest him

A MAN allegedly pointed a replica gun described as a “family heirloom” at officers who came to arrest him, a court heard.

The details emerged at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday where Richard John Taggart (30), of Maple Drive in Coleraine, was refused bail.

He faces charges including possessing an imitation firearm to cause a police officer to believe that violence could be used and making use of an imitation firearm with intent to resist arrest.

The defendant is also charged with having a hammer with intent to commit grievous bodily harm and criminal damage relating to Sunday November 3 this year.

A court was previously told that Taggart’s former partner was asleep at home when she was awoken by “loud bangs and smashing noises” as the defendant kicked at her door and windows.

She called the police but Taggart had left before officers arrived and police then went to his home to arrest him.

The earlier court was told officers “saw that he had a gun in his right hand which he raised and pointed with his finger on the trigger”.

Believing it was real, the officers withdrew and shouted for Taggart to “drop it” which he complied with but then approached officers while holding “a claw hammer in his hand and a bottle of Buckfast” in the other.

A defence lawyer told the earlier court Taggart had been upset following the break-up of the relationship and after seeing pictures involving his ex-partner on social media he had consumed a large amount of Buckfast.

At Coleraine Court on Monday a police officer said they objected to a suggested bail address as it was too close to the ex-partner’s home.

A defence solicitor told Monday’s Court the criminal damage charge was admitted and that “in general terms the circumstances” of what happened at the defendant’s home were accepted.

He said the defendant had a clear record and said the replica gun was a “family heirloom”.

District Judge Peter King said it was a “very striking case” which involved a police Armed Response Unit.

A police officer told the court there was no bail address in the Coleraine area considered suitable and refusing bail the judge said there was “no way on earth” he was giving the defendant bail in the town.

The judge said if there was a bail somewhere else suitable to police the matter could come back to court and in the mean time the case was adjourned to November 25.

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