restraining order | 

Notorious Co Down man remanded into custody for 'stalking' woman

During an interview with a probation officer, Barry Russell (51) asked her out on a date. The interview was terminated when he asked the lady 'if she wanted to go to the cinema with him'

Barry Russell leaving court at a previous hearing

Paul Higgins

A man has been remanded into custody accused of stalking a woman.

Barry Gerard Russell confirmed he understood the two charges against him, alleging that he breached a restraining order on two occasions this month.

The order was imposed almost two years ago barring the 51-year-old from harassing or pestering a named female.

The court was told she was in work last Saturday when Russell entered the shop but the terrified woman “went out to the back of the shop in fear.”

Then on May 19, the victim was leaving her second job in a primary school when a colleague spotted Russell “across the road staring at her.”

The victim left with the colleague but it’s claimed Russell followed them for a time until he noticed that he himself had been spotted.

The officer told Belfast Magistrates Court on Saturday “they are not previous partners or anything” but the original order was imposed because Russell went to her workplace and home.

It was then revealed that Russell, from Fountain Court in Downpatrick, has a record and “two other restraining orders” in relation to other women.

In 2019, he was handed a three month jail sentence for spying on a woman having a shower.

Two years earlier, he narrowly avoided going to jail for a hoax bomb call that caused an evacuation at a teaching union's Northern Ireland headquarters.

Russell was handed a four-month suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to the fake alert at the NASUWT centre in Belfast.

He phoned the union's offices and told a representative: "Just to tell you there's a bomb planted underneath your car, and when you open your door it will blow you away."

At a previous hearing, the judge was taken aback when she was told that during his interview with a probation officer, he asked her out on a date.

The interview was terminated when he asked the lady “if she wanted to go to the cinema with him’’.

“To describe that as inappropriate doesn’t even begin to describe it!”, declared the judge at the time.

In relation to the latest case, a defence lawyer said Russell will be contesting the new charges, claiming it was a “chance meeting’’.

Concerned about the risk of further of offences, he was remanded into custody with the case adjourned until next month.

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