Blackmail accused says he cut off electronic tag because of ‘bad blood circulation’
The court was told 45-year-old Gavin Thompson said the tag was “bothering him”
A man on bail for allegedly threatening an ex-pat in Dubai that his dad in Ballymena, Co Antrim, would “get a bullet” if money was not paid over, has admitted cutting off an electronic monitoring tag.
Gavin Thompson, who pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to the tag, claimed he had “bad circulation”.
The 45-year-old appeared in court on Tuesday via video-link from prison — where he is on remand in connection with the Ballymena incident.
A defence barrister said Thompson had been living with a relative in the Portrush area after being granted bail in the alleged blackmail case.
The court was told Thompson said the tag was “bothering him”, but he had not left the property and was in bed when police arrived.
Thompson has been charged with blackmail and burglary of a house in Ballymena in June this year.
It is alleged he left a note at the house naming the woman who lived there — and referenced her son living in Dubai, writing “he needs to ring me, he owes me a lot of money. If not,I will be back”.
A previous hearing was told the woman’s son was contacted by police and he claimed he received text messages from Thompson which included a picture of a broken window and the door of his parent’s address.
One text is alleged to have read: "Next time you won’t be so lucky unless you pay up. Your choice. Your father is going to get a bullet. The clock is ticking. I want my money.”
That money mentioned was in reference to a loan Thompson claimed he gave the man in Dubai, who was a friend, to help set up a personal trainer business, but hadn’t received any money back.
A previous court was told Thompson alleged it was £20,000 while the other party said it was £16,000.
Wanting the cash back, a defence lawyer said Thompson, with alcohol taken, had “obviously gone about this in the wrong way”.
He was arrested in Antrim over the alleged threats and when interviewed, said he had gone to the house in Ballymena looking to speak to the man’s parents. Thompson told police he smashed the window and turned a key on the inside of the door and went in briefly and said he did not take anything from the property.
In relation to damaging the electronic tag, Thompson, who has links to Northern Ireland but has an address in St Helen’s in England, was fined £200 and has to pay £550 for the tag.
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