revealed  | 

Thug threatened to kill MP John Finucane and decapitate relative of former senator Mairia Cahill

Yob's shocking outbursts in court see him locked up again

Armed: Stephen Altimas is the terrifying thug who told a judge on Friday he was going to kill north Belfast MP John Finucane and decapitate a relative of Mairia Cahill.

Steven Moore and Paul Higgins

This is the terrifying thug who told a judge on Friday he was going to kill North Belfast MP John Finucane and decapitate a relative of Mairia Cahill.

Furious Stephen Altimas ranted in open court he was going to cut the Sinn Féin MP’s throat and “cut the head” off Ms Cahill’s close relative who he was in court to be sentenced for harassing and threatening to kill.

A judge explained during her comments how a victim impact statement provided by the relative of Ms Cahill was the “most shocking accounts that I have ever read from an innocent victim”.

Incredibly, it emerged Altimas had never even met the relative he had repeatedly threatened to kill.

Altimas, who has plagued the Cahill family for over a decade in a non-stop campaign of threats, made the shocking claims repeatedly from the witness room of Maghaberry Prison.

Altimas, who is 43 today, was appearing at Antrim Crown Court on Friday where he was sentenced to 30 months behind bars for threats to kill and breaching a restraining order.

Wearing a bright orange top and with shaggy long hair, Altimas paced the witness room in Maghaberry, making horrific and graphic threats to kill.

Before Judge Patricia Smyth had even started reading out her sentence comments, she had to deal with Altimas making threats and even had to mute him.

Despite being told he’d serve 15 of those months behind bars and another 15 on licence, he was freed on Friday night having served the time on remand – only to be sensationally rearrested for a raft of other alleged offences, including threatening Mr Finucane on Friday.

At the start of Friday’s hearing Judge Smyth asked Altimas if he wanted to say anything first or if he wanted the assistance of a solicitor or barrister, but he just repeatedly said “I’m gonna cut (name removed’s) head off”, until the judge muted his microphone.

A couple of minutes later Altimas raised his hand to attract the judge.

Stephen Altimas

She unmuted him and he said: “I’ll cut John Finucane’s throat, there you go,” before the judge had his microphone muted once again.

It’s not clear why Altimas had any issue with the Sinn Féin representative.

Last night former Irish senator Mairia Cahill told the Sunday World: “Due to ongoing legal proceedings I’m unable to comment.”

It’s understood the PSNI contacted John Finucane on Friday afternoon to make him aware of the threats.

The Sunday World contacted the MP but he declined to comment.

John Finucane Pic: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Threats against MPs have been worryingly increasing over recent years and culminated in a number of attacks.

Labour MP Jo Cox was repeatedly shot and stabbed by a far right neo-Nazi in June, 2016 while Tory MP David Amess was stabbed to death in his constituency office last October.

Altimas was in court on Friday having waged a terrifying campaign against a relative of ex-SDLP councillor Mairia Cahill.

During a two-day trial last week Altimas, from north Belfast, repeated a number of threats aimed at Ms Cahill’s relative, who we are choosing not to identify.

Representing himself without a legal team, prosecuting counsel told the jury that during an interview with a probation officer about licence conditions in December 2020, he told her: “I’m abiding by no law. I’m going to end his life when I get out of here. I’m going to f****** kill him and smash his f****** skull in. I don’t give a f*** about my licence.”

That was followed up a few weeks later when Altimas appeared at Londonderry Crown Court on February 3 and told the judge: “If you release me I’m going to hurt that bastard. I will not co-operate with any law from now on.”

On Altimas’ next court appearance, this time on March 1, the jury heard that he made similar threats that “if I’m free I will look for him and I will hurt him. I will put a hatchet in that f****** head. I will cut his head off.”

Mairia Cahill. Picture: GERRY MOONEY

With Altimas repeatedly removed from the court and from hearing the evidence in his own trial, the jury in Antrim courthouse could clearly him shouting and roaring and banging on the walls of his cell below them.

Even when police officers were called to the court and were sitting with Altimas, he issued more threats but after two days of uncontested and unchallenged evidence, the jury set a new record for coming to a verdict – six minutes before they unanimously convicted Altimas of making a threat to kill and two breaches of a restraining order.

On the day he was convicted Altimas launched into another foul-mouthed tirade of abuse but this time, directed at the judge, the court staff, the PPS barrister and Justice Minister Naomi Long.

On Friday a prison officer told the court that Altimas had had to be removed from the videolink booth and was not coming back because “he’s still being very noisy and obstreperous”.

Before he was removed, Judge Smyth told the thug the statement from his victim was “one of the most shocking accounts that I have ever read from an innocent victim of terrible repeated and ongoing crime”.

“He says he finds it difficult to put into words just how much the continuous threats made against his life by you have affected him.

“He says that to have the threat of violence hanging over him is not something he has ever had in his life before and he has found it hugely upsetting and worrying.”

She told Altimas: “The fact that there is no basis whatsoever for your threats is very frightening because it means there is no way for him to reason with you or defend himself.

“He finds this very frustrating and he worries this is something he will have to deal with for the rest of his life which is an awful feeling.

“He says that having the constant fear of violence and having to consider his personal safety is very, very troubling. He said the thought that he needs to be concerned for his family’s safety when he’s at home or every time he leaves home is not something that anyone should have to deal with, and I agree with that.”

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