A man who entered a neighbour’s house and asked a two-year-old boy to go to the shop with him has avoided a prison sentence.

Stephen Abraham of Coolcullen Meadow, Enniskillen was found guilty of attempted child abduction and common assault following the incident on March 20, 2018.

The court heard that at around 7pm Abraham entered his neighbour’s home with a bag of clothing and medication after the mother of the child had gone to the shop. In the house were three children aged 15, 12 and two years old.

The 55 year old asked the youngest child to go to the shop with him, took him by the hand and walked to the door.

The 12 year old told Abraham that the youngest child was not allowed to go to the shop with him.

The defendant then went to the kitchen and began to take medication and went to give a pink pill to the youngest child before walking out the back door.

The 15-year-old child followed Abraham trying to give him back his belongings and it was at this stage that he swung at the child but did not connect.

He was later arrested at a public house but was unable to be interviewed when brought to a police station.

In April, 2018 Abraham was interviewed and he admitted that he knew the children’s mother was not in the house at the time but had little recollection of much of the night and denied throwing a punch at the 15 year old.

He said he was stressed at the time of the incident and had taken medication before going to the house.

Defence barrister, Ciaran Roddy said his client had been suffering from mental health issues at the time and was sent to hospital after his arrest.

He said it was a serious matter and that Abraham had complicated mental health issues which he is acutely aware of.

Mr. Roddy told the court this was the first offence of this nature by the 55 year old and that his offending was linked to poor mental health.

He added that Abraham was presenting a much healthier state than before and the mother of the child said she had lived beside the defendant for a number of years and had no problems with him before.

District Judge Michael Ranaghan said “at first blush” the incident looks “most sinister” but when you look at Abraham’s mental health it becomes a lot clearer.

Judge Ranaghan had deferred sentencing of Abraham to put him to the test after an incident that must have been terrifying for the children.

He said the custody threshold had been breached and sentenced Abraham to five months in prison.

However taking into account all Mr. Roddy had said and to give Abraham some credit, the judge suspended the sentence for two years to put him to the test and also to ensure public safety.