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Wins appeal Bully dodges jail after telling shop employee: 'I am going to rape and murder you'

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Vile: Michael Wray made shocking threats to a female store worker

Vile: Michael Wray made shocking threats to a female store worker

Confronted: Michael Wray is challenged this week by our man Steven Moore

Confronted: Michael Wray is challenged this week by our man Steven Moore

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Vile: Michael Wray made shocking threats to a female store worker

A twisted bully has won an appeal against going to jail after he told a female shop worker he was going to “rape and murder” her.

Michael Wray, of Sunningdale Park, Ballymena, had been ordered to spend four months in prison after he made the outrageous threat to the woman.

But Wray – pictured here for the first time – won an appeal to lower his sentence and will instead do 240 hours of unpaid community work.

The shocked but brave victim had been putting in a shift at Homebase in Antrim in July at the height of the pandemic when thug Wray lost his temper and twice coughed in her face.

The woman prevented him from leaving the store and called the police as the bearded bully continued to shower her with abuse.

Wray, who locals say is known as ‘Mad Mick’, said to her: “Do you know who I am? I know your face, I’m going to rape and murder you.”

The employee said she was “frightened and distressed” and during the original sentence hearing Judge Nigel Broderick described his threats as “vile and despicable”.

Despite pleading guilty to making threats to kill and common assault, Wray was saved from going to jail and instead will have 12 months to complete his 240 hours of community service.

Last week, there was no sign of Wray doing much at all as we called to confront the thug about his behaviour.

After getting him out of bed at about 11am, instead of answering the door he woke his father up to welcome us.

And when he did come to the door he was wearing only boxer shorts before finally putting on a dressing gown.

The cocky coward – who admitted in court he has “anger issues” – grinned when we told him we wanted to speak to him about his convictions.

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Confronted: Michael Wray is challenged this week by our man Steven Moore

Confronted: Michael Wray is challenged this week by our man Steven Moore

Confronted: Michael Wray is challenged this week by our man Steven Moore

He politely said he didn’t want to speak to the paper but when pushed he said: “I regret what happened, I don’t know what I was thinking. I just want to get on with my life now.”

But we can reveal Wray was particularly lucky to escape prison as he has previous for abusing women. He once bizarrely used a tin of baked beans to smash a lock in a furious temper as he tried to trap a previous girlfriend in a house.

In October 2018 Wray pleaded guilty to offences of attempted criminal damage and resisting police. He had originally also been charged with false imprisonment of his girlfriend, making threats to kill her father, making threats to damage her father’s property and common assault on another woman but they were withdrawn by prosecutors.

The court was told Wray had tried to damage a lock so his girlfriend couldn’t leave during an incident in April 2018. Wray was drunk and when arrested in bed, he struggled with officers.

Defence solicitor John McAtamney accepted the tin of beans incident was “bizarre”. He said it was the “tail end” of the relationship which is now “well and truly over”.

Locals in Ballymena say Wray is known as ‘Mad Mick’ because he’s got a reputation for losing his temper and starting trouble.

In the Homebase incident on July 21, the court was told how the employee said that a man had been verbally abusive after she had prevented him from leaving the store as a result of him “allegedly coughing directly in her face”.

A prosecutor said police checked a vehicle Wray was seen getting into and he was the registered owner and they caught up with him at his home in Ballymena.

During a PSNI interview the defendant admitted the offences, claiming he had “anger issues” and that he didn’t mean for the employee to believe that he would carry out the threat and apologised.

Defence barrister Stephen Law said Wray accepts his behaviour had been “disgraceful and totally reprehensible”.

The lawyer said whether or not the defendant had anger issues “they should not be borne out to anyone working in any retail environment”.

The barrister said Wray had undertaken an anger management course and admitted it was a “nasty” incident.

Regarding the coughing, the defence lawyer said on the second occasion Wray had raised his arm and attempted to cough into it.

Judge Broderick told Wray, who appeared at court via a video link from his solicitor’s office: “This is a despicable offence. In the middle of a global pandemic you cough not once but twice into an employee’s face and then you make vile threats to her.”

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