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Dungannon man who threatened to tie up and torture police officer’s children avoids jail

A Dungannon man who hurled horrific abuse to police on two different occasions, has narrowly avoided imprisonment, despite a judge describing the remarks as “disgusting”.

John Patrick Nixon (34) from Castlehill made reference to the murders of Constable Stephen Carroll and Constable Ronan Kerr and told officers he wanted to tie up their children and make them watch while he tortured them.

Dungannon Magistrates’ Court heard on January 9 police were called to the home of Nixon’s parents after he entered against their wishes.

On being spoken to, Nixon became aggressive, calling his father, “A druggie b*****d.”

Police advised him to moderate his language, but he continued to be verbally abusive calling police “black b*****ds” and making reference to Constables Carroll and Kerr.

He was arrested and following caution replied: “All I’m going to say is 2 – Nil.”

While being transported to custody Nixon repeated: “Constable Ronan, Constable Stephen, 2-Nil.”

During interview, he replied ‘no comment’ to all questions.

Then on March 2, police were again called to reports of Nixon’s behaviour where he immediately became aggressive when officers approached, shouting, “What do you black b*****ds want?”

Police warned him about his language but became even more aggressive shouting, “F*** you black b*****ds. You will all end up dead like the rest of your colleagues.”

Nixon was arrested for disorderly behaviour and, while under caution on the way to custody, he continued to be aggressive, stating he supported the IRA.

He said: “I’d love to break into a police officer’s house, tie up their children then torture them and make the peeler watch.”

When reminded he was under caution Nixon replied: “So what?”

A defending lawyer said the charges were accepted to which District Judge Michael Ranaghan responded: “What I have heard is disgusting.”

The defence distinguished between comments made at the scene and those uttered, “in transit to custody after he was arrested for disorderly behaviour”.

However he agreed they were, “disgusting and reprehensible. There was no excuse.”

Offending occurred, it was claimed, after Nixon “embarked on a period of drug-taking”.

Judge Ranaghan referred to a pre-sentence report and addressing Nixon said: “When asked to reflect upon your behaviour toward police, you said: ‘They’re probably used to it, albeit, it ‘wasn’t nice’. It was much worse than that. It was disgusting, animalistic, cowardly and shocking.”

He continued: “You were brave then but you’re not so brave standing in the dock. I’m sure if you met one of those officers today you wouldn’t be brave either. If I had heard those comments as a police officer in a car with you, I’m not sure what I would have done quite frankly.”

Nixon was told his drug problems are his own doing and, “you do not ever have the right to speak to police officers about others so tragically affected by the behaviour of others. You should not be gloating about that.”

Judge Ranaghan asked Nixon, “Is there anything you’d like to say to police about your behaviour?”

He replied: “It’s in the pre-sentence report.”

The judge continued: “Say it now. Use the word disgusting for instance.”

After some silence, Nixon responded: “I know what I said and I shouldn’t have said it. It was wrong.”

Judge Ranaghan said: “It was more than wrong. It was disgusting?”

After consideration, Judge Ranaghan said: “My disgust to what this animal said on those nights has to be tempered.”

While initially inclined toward immediate imprisonment “on reflection” he imposed a sentence of eight months custody suspended for two years,

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