Employee fled in fear to rear of shop during hammer attack

An off-licence employee fled in fear to the rear of the shop in Ballymena after a customer smashed a window with a hammer.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 11:30 am

Details emerged at Ballymena Magistrates Court where Zahide Iqbal (27), of Kincora in Ballymena, was sentenced after previously admitting causing criminal damage to a door and window at WineFlair at Cullybackey Road and then being disorderly in the nearby North Road area.

Charges of possessing a hammer as an offensive weapon and resisting the police officer in the execution of his duty were withdrawn.

The defendant was in court where a prosecutor said that around midday on February 3 this year police were called to WineFlair following a report of windows being smashed with a hammer. The prosecutor said an employee said the defendant was in the shop and wouldn’t leave when she refused to serve him because “as per the policy, he wouldn’t remove his hood and his cap.” The defendant became abusive and then did leave but returned a short time later with a hammer and struck the window in the door three times causing the glass to break and a trim to fall off the window. The employee “fled to the rear of the store, she was in fear,” the prosecution lawyer added. A description had been circulated and when located nearby at North Road the defendant was aggressive with police.

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A defence barrister said Iqbal “was very close to his uncle who was tragically murdered in the local area. He would have been a well-known gentleman and businessman. A gentleman is about to stand trial for same. That has clearly affected this gentleman”. Iqbal is involved with the Community Addictions Team, the lawyer said. The barrister said it was a “very unusual incident” and the defendant had a limited record.

The defendant was put on Probation for nine months.