Northern Ireland

Larne man 'broke non-molestation order within minutes'

High Court
Image caption The accused was granted bail at the High Court in Belfast

A man sent 45 threatening or abusive texts to his 16-year-old partner within minutes of being handed a non-molestation order, a court has heard.

It was alleged that Arnold Leitch, 19, of Hillmount Gardens in Larne told the girl, who had just given birth, that he regretted getting her pregnant.

In another text message to the girl, he allegedly wrote: "You're dead".

The court heard he was stopped by police as he made his way to the victim's home in Larne.

A crown lawyer told the court that after being cautioned, he replied: "I hope you know how to sign a death certificate."

The accused faces charges of breaching a non-molestation order and threats to kill.

The lawyer said he started sending 45 insulting or threatening text messages five minutes after the interim order was served on 14 February.

'Completely lost it'

Five missed calls were also made to the victim's phone.

"The injured party is extremely upset. She is 16, only just had this baby and she is terrified," the prosecution lawyer said.

A defence lawyer said the incident occured after the couple had expressed their love for each other.

"Soon after coming off the phone with her he was served with the non-molestation order and he was quite frank, he just completely lost it," the lawyer said.

It was claimed that the accused sent the messages out of anger and frustration, and that the reference to a death certificate was in relation to himself.

Bail was granted for the accused to live at an address in Newtownabbey.

He was banned from contacting the victim and from entering Larne.