Northern Ireland

Carrickfergus guns find man 'in fear of his life'

Belfast Magistrates Court
Image caption Mr Johnston appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court

A County Antrim man allegedly stopped in a car with four guns and three knives claims he is a "dead man walking", a court has heard.

Brian Henry Johnston, 24, was arrested after police halted the vehicle he was driving in Carrickfergus on Saturday.

Three other men who arrived at the scene in the town's Minorca Place were said to have fled following an altercation.

They were later detained and charged with assault and disorderly behaviour.

Mr Johnston, of Rashee Road in Ballyclare, appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court on charges of possessing four handguns with intent to cause fear of violence, and having offensive weapons, namely three knives, in a public place.

He also faces counts of driving without due care and attention and having no insurance.

The weapons were said to have been recovered during searches of the car.

A detective constable said police were "strongly opposed" to the defendant being released on bail.

'Dead man walking'

During police interviews Mr Johnston claimed he is in fear of his life and facing threats in the Carrickfergus area, the detective said.

She added: "He stated he's a dead man walking."

According to a defence solicitor there was more to the case than what has so far been disclosed.

He told the court: "This is not as it seems on the face of it."

District Judge Fiona Bagnall agreed to adjourn the bail application until Tuesday.

Mr Johnston was remanded in custody to appear again by video link.

The other three men charged over the incident, aged 29, 33 and 35, are due before the court for the first time on 12 March.