Man abused take away staff

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A man who racially abused staff at a hotfood takeaway, before launching a tirade of similar hate towards a police officer in Coleraine at a later date, had bail fixed for appeal after he was jailed for seven months on Monday December 21.

Thomas McNeill (21), an unemployed plasterer of Oakvale Park in Coleraine, went to the Indian Ocean takeaway in Portstewart on October 15 this year and when asked what he could get for £1, he was given some chips but then demanded more and became abusive. He called a member of a staff a “P-ki b-----d” before leaving and going to the nearby Shennanigans Bar where police caught up with him.

A second man, Kristin Mulholland (22), unemployed of Briar Hill in the Four Winds area of Belfast, intervened and was abusive and aggressive to police. Both men began singing loyalist songs and abuse was directed at police and as McNeill was being led away he called officers “black b-----ds” and “F-nian b-----ds”.

The incidents happened on October 15 this year, Coleraine Magistrates Court was told, but McNeill came to police attention again, this time on November 8 this year at Ballycastle Road, Coleraine, when he obstructed traffic. He racially abused a police officer saying “What are you doing here? F--k off back to your own country.”

Defence barrister Michael Smyth for McNeill said excess alcohol was a theme running through his client’s offending and said the racist remarks were “due to a lack of education”.

Mulholland had entered a plea of guilty at the first opportunity and and had no similar previous offences, said District Judge Liam McNally, who said he was increasing 120 hours of community service to 150 hours because of the racial hostility. Regarding McNeill, the judge said he had previously given him court orders which were breached and he was back in court for behaving in an “appalling manner” with racial incidents as he jailed him for seven months. He was released on his own bail of £500 pending appeal.