Man who waved fake guns wanted police to 'shoot him'

A Belfast man waved imitation guns from his balcony because he wanted police to shoot him, a court has heard.

Gerard McKeown, 48, sparked a stand-off lasting several hours after phoning a helpline service to say he had two guns, it was claimed.

He was detained after an armed response unit went into his flat at Glenties Drive in the Lenadoon area on Monday morning.

He was granted bail to live at another address in the city.

Mr McKeown is charged with threats to kill and possession of a firearm or imitation firearm with intent to cause fear or violence.

Opposing his application for bail at Belfast Magistrates' Court, a PSNI constable claimed the accused was a risk to himself and the public.

The officer said the Lifeline service alerted police that Mr McKeown had contacted them to say he had weapons and was going to use them.

"Police attended and this defendant was waving the firearms on the balcony," he told the court.

Forensic tests

"Police were liaising with this gentleman, trying to talk him down. Several hours later an armed response unit had to enter the building."

Forensic tests are to be carried out on the guns to confirm if they are fake.

It was disclosed in court that Mr McKeown is an alcoholic who had taken his first drink in years just before the alleged incident began.

Defence lawyer Sean McCann told the court that it had been a suspected suicide attempt.

The solicitor said: "He wanted police to shoot him when he was on the balcony.

"Members of the public were out talking to him on the balcony, trying to get him down. He wasn't threatening them."

Mr McCann added: "This was just one occasion where he went off the wagon."

District Judge Fiona Bagnall ordered Mr McKeown to report to police on three mornings each week.

He is due to appear in court again next month.