Traumatised | 

Businessman filmed waving 'handgun' at teens gets 75 hours of community service

The parents of one of the teenagers threatened by Gerald Samuel McFaul said the sentence was 'absolutely laughable'

Paul Higgins

An Antrim businessman who went on an angry rampage on Halloween night with a weapon has been ordered to compete 75 hours of community service.

Ballymena Magistrates Court heard that 46-year-old Gerald Samuel McFaul was captured on video footage, waving a black handgun in the air, demanding to know the whereabouts of a male.

McFaul, from Blackthorn Rise in Larne, had been charged with making a threat to kill but that was dropped by the PPS and instead, the gun-toting vigilante confessed that he had the imitation firearm with intent to cause another person to fear that unlawful violence would be used against them on October 31 last year.

Last week a prosecuting lawyer outlined how police received a 999 call alleging how two women, including McFaul’s teenage daughter, had been assaulted with the “irate” defendant threatening that he was “going to commit murder”.

Later on, at around 1.30am there was another 999 call but this time it was from a teenage boy who said he had been approached by a gun-carrying McFaul who was shouting at him.

Cops went to McFaul’s home and searched it a short time later but nothing was found although during police interviews, he admitted he had been out with a BB gun.

As District Judge Nigel Broderick pointed out to defence counsel Michael Tierney: “How were they to know it was a BB gun – at face value it would look like a real gun.

“One can imagine that they would’ve been extremely concerned to be presented with an adult who was, as far as they were concerned, armed with a genuine firearm,” said the judge, telling McFaul in no uncertain terms the incident was unusual but “very serious”.

Gerald Samuel McFaul was given 75 hours’ community service over his vigilante-style actions

With McFaul’s daughter having been attacked in an earlier incident, the judge said it was a “classic case” of a defendant taking the law into his own hands but in doing so it had “landed you in court” and he warned that “people should understand that the authorities must take responsibility for the criminal law.

“I think in all the circumstances the appropriate sentence to reflect the serious nature of the offences is an element of community service,” concluded the judge who ordered McFaul to complete 75 hours of community service.

The Sunday World went to Mr McFaul’s home and also called his business number to offer him the opportunity to respond to the case, but he did not take up our offer.

We also visited the parents of one of the teenagers who were threatened by Mr McFaul who told us the group of teenagers, three boys and two girls, had no idea why they were approached by him.

They told us that McFaul had approached the group in a bid to find a male he believed had caused harm to his child, but that the teens he went to had no knowledge of the incident whatsoever and had just happened to be hanging out near local shops.

The parent said: “He pulled a gun on those kids that looked like a real gun at the time and threatened them. If that had been me at that age I’d have ran like the hammers.

“They didn’t know what even happened that wee girl. They don’t even run about with the young fella he was looking for.

“The sentence is absolutely laughable, shocking. For how serious that was – that could have been a real gun.

“He went out there with the intent to endanger kids’ lives – and by that I mean, by bringing out a weapon, that still harms them psychologically at the very least. Them kids could be scarred for life.

“Every one of them have had counselling and suffered anxiety. Our child would be making sure at least three times the car doors and house doors were locked..

“Our child went out to Belfast one day and the whole side of their face, they’d lost feeling and power in it. The doctor thought it might be Bell's Palsy, but not a stroke as they were too young, but said to be sure to take them up to hospital.

“We went up to hospital and they had our child on heart monitors and all the rest of it and then they said it was an anxiety attack.

“It’s hard for us to have to see that. At that age they shouldn’t have any problems like that there to deal with. They are kids. He didn’t even know who they were, he’s just taken it out on whoever he’s seen first.

“It’s a disgrace – what about the kids? Nothing said about that and then the sentence, what’s that, two week’s work? Ridiculous.”

"It was an imitation gun but the kids weren’t to know that. When I saw the video it looked like a real gun to me.

“And in the darkness and then at their age as well? These kids deserve help and compensation for what they have suffered.”

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