A 51-YEAR-OLD has admitted sending threatening messages to another man warning him he was a “dead man walking”, but has been cleared of further assault and motoring offences.

James McKenna, of Tully Road, Ballindullagh, pleaded guilty to two counts of sending a message that was grossly offensive or of a menacing character by means of a public electronic communications network between November 19, 2016 and January 1, 2017.

The first message stated that people were going to visit Daniel Beattie who had their “own way of doing things which hurts”, while the second stated that Daniel Beattie was a “dead man walking”.

The charges were linked to an alleged incident that had occurred on December 8, 2016.

In connection with this incident, McKenna had also been charged with unlawfully assaulting Daniel Beattie, driving without a licence and driving with excess alcohol in his blood.

However, these charges were dismissed after the defendant contested them at Fermanagh Magistrates Court on Monday.

Taking to the witness stand, McKenna told the court that, at 10pm on December 8, he had been sitting at home watching TV with his partner and son, when he had received a phone call from a neighbour that there was someone in his field.

The defendant said that, at this point, he got into a car with his partner and son and pursued the vehicle that had been on their land to another address around two miles away.

When they arrived at the other property, McKenna said he got out and felt the bonnet of a car parked outside, which was still warm.

He said that Daniel Beattie then appeared out of a nearby shed, followed closely afterwards by another individual, Lee Williams.

McKenna told the court that Mr. Beattie swung for him, forcing him to grab hold of his shoulders and push him back.

He further alleged that Mr. Williams jumped on his back, causing him to fall on the ground.

In the course of the altercation, McKenna said he was struck “several times” and a clump of hair was pulled out of his beard.

The defendant told the court he then got back into the car and returned to his house.

It was then that he drank around 15 cans of beer, as he was “raging” at what happened.

He claimed there was at least three hours between returning home and the police arriving at his front door.

In their evidence to the court, both McKenna and his partner insisted that she had driven the car on the night in question.

They both also claimed that the police had been up seven times before over repeated allegations that people had been on their property, but had done “absolutely nothing”.

District judge, Nigel Broderick, observed that, at a previous hearing, he had listened to evidence given by Daniel Beattie and Lee Williams, but wasn’t impressed with the credibility or reliability of either.

The judge said that while there had clearly been a physical altercation between the parties, he couldn’t be satisfied that it was instigated by James McKenna.

In connection with the alleged driving offences, Mr. Broderick said that the defendant and his partner stated in court that she had been driving.

The judge said he had his suspicions if that was the case, before adding: “Suspicions aren’t enough to convict anyone.”

Turning to the messages, Mr. Broderick said that the defendant could not take the law into his own hands.

The judge said that if McKenna felt the police weren’t doing a good enough job, there was a remedy against that.

For sending the messages, he imposed a two-year conditional discharge on the defendant.