Man made death threats to Facebook teens

Published Tuesday, 24 April 2012
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A Belfast man behind a series of hoax bomb warnings and death threats to the PSNI Chief Constable also threatened to rape schoolgirls he contacted through Facebook, the High Court has heard.

Man made death threats to Facebook teens
Rankin used Facebook to contact many of his alleged victims. (© Getty)

It was claimed on Tuesday that Stuart Rankin threatened men, women and children and said to one child he was going to "cut her into bits" and dump her body on the motorway.

The 25-year-old also told some people he was a paramilitary and was going to attack them or that he had burnt out their homes.

Rankin, from Glencairn Crescent in Belfast, has admitted a total of 69 charges involving harassment, misuse of electronic or telephonic communications and threats to kill.

He is said to be behind a spate of false warnings last year that bombs were left at courthouses in Newry and Derry and at a police station in Belfast.

Similar bogus claims involved shopping centres in Craigavon and Belfast and U105 radio station.

It is alleged that Rankin made threats to around 30 victims through Facebook and other social networking sites, to neighbours and even the Chief Constable.

"Essentially what he would do was make some telephone calls, but primarily text messages," prosecutor Philip Henry said.

"They would be abusive, threatening and sexually explicit."

Rankin allegedly told some teenage girls he would be waiting outside their school to rape, abuse and in some cases kill them, the court heard.

Mr Henry said the most alarming incident involved messages sent to one woman in which he threatened to molest and then slit her young daughter's throat.

Joel Lindsay for the defence said that because his client had admitted to the charges, there was no presumption of innocence.

"They are nasty offences in every way and must have been very frightening for all those involved in them," the barrister accepted.

"It's quite clear at some stage he will serve a custody sentence for this."

© UTV News
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