harassment | 

Man spared jail over attack on UDA chief Jim Spence walks free again after tormenting loyalist’s daughter

Simon Walker (44) repeatedly sent Ms Spence pictures of himself over a period of several hours

Simon Walker

Rebecca Spence

UDA boss Jim Spence

Christopher WoodhouseSunday Life

A man who threatened to kill a police station employee and harassed the daughter of a UDA godfather has been spared jail.

Simon Walker was acting under the belief he was in the security services, a court was told last week.

The 44-year-old was sentenced for making threats to kill, harassment and misuse of a public communications system, committed between May 2020 and July last year.

Belfast Magistrates Court was told he started contacting Rebecca Spence, known as Becky, over Facebook Messenger on the morning of July 24 last year.

A prosecution lawyer said he repeatedly sent Ms Spence, the daughter of UDA boss Jim Spence, pictures of himself over a period of several hours.

After he began messaging her again the next day, she told him it was harassment and asked him to stop.

Rebecca Spence

The other charges related to an incident in May the previous year at Tennent Street police station off the Shankill Road.

A prosecution lawyer said Walker appeared at the station and made a demand to the woman on the reception desk that he be paid £500 owed to him by the PSNI by 5pm.

He then showed her a picture bearing the Red Hand Commando logo and asked: “Do you know who I am?”

Walker then threatened to kill the woman if she left the police station, saying she was “going to get it”.

A defence solicitor told District Judge George Conner that Walker suffered from a personality disorder.

He explained that at the time of the offences, the defendant was operating under the false impression that he was a “spook” and involved with some intelligence organisation.

The lawyer said this was obviously not the case and the incident at the police station was “complete madness”.

Sentencing Walker, Judge Conner said that while the offences were “very serious matters”, he would take account of his criminal record and favourable pre-sentence report.

He handed the defendant, from Loughview Glen in north Belfast, a sentence of four months on each charge, suspended for two years.

Judge Conner also imposed a restraining order barring Walker from contacting Rebecca Spence for a period of two years.

In March this year, he also narrowly avoided prison for a series of offences, including smashing the windows of a bar Rebecca Spence owns, attacking her father and causing a bomb hoax.

UDA boss Jim Spence

During his sentencing for those offences, a court was told he branded Jim Spence, the loyalist heavily linked to the 1989 UDA murder of solicitor Pat Finucane, a “tout”, called on “troops” to smash his windows and told him to “leave Ulster” in one of a series of sinister Facebook posts between April and July 2021.

The hearing was also told how, in one incident, Walker was driving down the Ballygomartin Road in west Belfast when he saw Spence walking on the footpath. He pulled his car over to the side of the road and told Spence to get inside as he was going to “take him for a drive” and “do him in”.

The defendant then produced a wheelbrace and attacked him. After the police were called, Walker was arrested at the scene.

On the same day, he threw rocks at the windows of the Shankill Road’s Bar Berlin, which is owned by Spence’s daughter, causing £1,200 of damage.

The court was told that the following month, Walker phoned Musgrave Street police station and asked to speak to either C3 (formerly Special Branch) or someone in military intelligence.

When asked by the call handler why, he said it was about a bomb in the police station.

Officers who recognised his number went to his house and dialled it, after which his phone was heard ringing.

For the latest set of offences, the judge sentenced him to four months in prison on each charge, suspended for two years and to run concurrently.


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