Police 'called 40 times to one street'

Published Wednesday, 03 September 2014
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Northern Ireland's most senior judge has described claims police attended disturbances at one Limavady street more than 40 times in the space of three months, as an "outrageous" use of public resources.

Police 'called 40 times to one street'
The bail hearing was adjourned. (© UTV)

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan delivered his assessment after hearing claims that a resident was arrested for screaming drunken abuse twice in three days during a hearing at the High Court in Belfast on Wednesday.

Suzanne McNicholl, 42, of Kennaught Terrace in the town, faces two charges of disorderly behaviour and a further count of assault on police.

She was first arrested on 9 August after allegedly shouting and swearing at a dog and member of public in a communal area near her home.

Prosecution counsel Conor Maguire said when cautioned McNicholl replied: "The dog wouldn't [shut up]."

Despite being released on a condition not to be drunk or use abusive language in public, police were called back to Kennaught Terrace again three days later.

It was alleged that McNicholl was dishevelled, unsteady on her feet and screaming abuse at a neighbour.

She was eventually arrested and put in handcuffs, allegedly biting an officer's arm in the process.

I don't want to keep this lady in custody, but we are going to have to find a solution that is going to allow the people in Kennaught Terrace to get on with leading their lives.

Sir Declan Morgan

Mr Maguire also disclosed: "Police say in the three-month period up to 12 August there were 43 calls for police assistance in Kennaught Terrace.

"There have been none since the applicant was remanded in custody.

"Thirty-four of those calls involved either McNicholl or others frequenting her home," the judge heard.

A defence barrister said the accused suffers from agoraphobia and severe alcohol problems.

But despite acknowledging the need to help her, Sir Declan insisted members of the public cannot be continually disturbed.

He added: "We can't have police called out forty-something times.

"The degree of public resources in that is completely outrageous."

The judge also noted a report which claimed McNicholl's friends have been using her home for daily drinking sessions.

The bail application was adjourned to allow for alternative accommodation to be found for McNicholl.

© UTV News
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