A 26-year-old man who threatened to burn a family out of their house and broke windows in their house and jeep has been found guilty of a series of charges at Fermanagh Magistrates Court on Monday.

Thomas Gerard Ward, with an address of HMP Maghaberry, 17 Old Road, Lisburn was convicted of possessing an offensive weapon with intent to commit an indictable offence, threats to damage property, two counts of criminal damage and threats to kill in relation to an incident at a property at Coolcullen Meadows in Enniskillen whch took place on December 30, 2017.

The owner of the vehicle and house Charles McDonagh and his ex-wife Kathleen, Ward and a police officer who attended the scene were questioned and cross-examined during the contest.

During their time on the stand, Mr. and Mrs. McDonagh gave details of what they saw during the incident.

Mr. McDonagh told the court how he was woken by his daughter who had heard a commotion outside the house.

When he went to look out the bedroom window he said he saw Ward outside with a shovel roaring: “If you don’t get out of here by tomorrow I’m going to kill you and burn you out of the house.”

He also smashed the driver’s window of Mr. McDonagh’s Mitsubishi Shogun.

He said Ward then left before returning a short time later and broke the rear window on the driver’s side of the Shogun as well as the sitting room window of the house.

Mr. McDonagh said he stayed in his house during the whole incident, waiting for the police to arrive and his children were “roaring and crying” saying: “Daddy don’t let him kill you”.

During his time on the stand, McDonagh consistently and repeatedly confirmed that the person he saw outside his house was Ward with another individual who was named as “Cash”.

During cross-examination by Ward’s barrister Ben Thompson asked Mr. McDonagh if the light in his bedroom was on when he was looking out the window, putting it to the witness that if it was it would have made it difficult for Mr. McDonagh to see anything out of the window if the light was on.

Mr. McDonagh remained adamant it was Ward he had seen.

Kathleen McDonagh, ex-wife to Charles took to the stand and during her time being questioned she said she was also confident the person with the shovel was Ward.

She said she had been asleep in her daughter’s bedroom when she heard the commotion and went into the front bedroom where Mr. McDonagh was.

She said the kids were “hysterical” but neither she or Mr. Mc.Donagh went downstairs or outside.

Mrs. McDonagh could not remember if the light was on in the room but said the street lighting was bright enough to identify the defendant and the second individual.

It was put to her by Mr. Thompson that she could not have seen the face due to bad light and she was exaggerating but Mrs. McDonagh was sure she saw Ward “with her own eyes”.

During the contest it was revealed that Ward had said to officers following his arrest and caution: “what’s three damaged windows? It mustn’t be that much”.

There was also shards of glass found in his tracksuit top and it was revealed a pair of black gloves were recovered behinds bins of rubbish.

The shovel was found outside a property a short distance away.

Ward was questioned from the dock and recalling his version of events he said he was woken by his father in the early hours of the morning, who said there was a group of people arguing in the street.

It was at this point that his father asked him to take out the rubbish to the bins and he was arrested.

He said he had no issues with Mr. McDonagh and said it made no sense for him to go and smash his windows.

Mr. Thompson in closing said the case lay on the identification of Ward by Mr. and Mrs. McDonagh, however District Judge Nigel Broderick said the circumstantial evidence strengthen the case.

Judge Broderick looked closely at the identification of Ward closely considering the Turnbull guidelines as well as the circumstances of Ward’s arrest when he was found wearing clothing matching the description at the rear of his father’s property.

He said it strengthened the prosecution’s case and that there was no great degree of credibility to the explanation given by Ward , along with the gloves found and the comment made after caution, Judge Broderick was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt Ward carried out the damage and threats.

Agitated by what he was hearing, Ward made to leave the dock before being escorted back to the cells.

Judge Broderick sentenced Ward to six months in prison, suspended for three years taking into account the gap in time and that the 26 year old had recently spent 11 months in custody.