Court hears man 'threatened to break his wife's teeth' during Ballyogen house siege

A father threatened to break his wife's teeth with knuckle-dusters when he held her at gunpoint during a siege at her south Dublin home, a court has heard, writes Tom Tuite.

William Harton (40) with an address at Killinarden Estate, Tallaght, Dublin, was arrested following a four-hour stand-off with armed gardaí and negotiators at the home of his wife, Amy Harton.

He is charged with falsely imprisoning her at Ballyogan Green Sandyford on February 16. The charge is under Section 15 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

He is further charged with contravening a barring order by entering that address and assaulting Ms Harton on the same date.

The third charge, also under the Domestic Violence Act, alleges he breached a barring order at the same address on Feb. 13.

He appeared before Judge John Lindsay at Dublin District Court on Friday evening. Dressed in a grey jumper, navy jeans and brown boots, the court heard the man made no reply when charged.

Judge Lindsay heard gardaí were objecting to bail on the grounds of the seriousness of the incident, fears that Mr Harton would interfere with witnesses and fears for their safety. The court heard the accused and his wife are in process of a separation.

Garda Michael Murphy told the court it was alleged an independent witness saw the accused arrive at Mrs Harton’s home and kick in the front door. It was alleged Mrs Harton tried to leave but was pulled back in to he house and it was alleged the defendant threatened to break her teeth with a knuckle-duster and that he would use “a decommissioned firearm that that he stated he had acquired equipment to make the gun useful again”.

Gardaí arrived at about 11.30am and heard a woman scream.

Garda Murphy alleged the accused produced a handgun to the window. Gardaí retreated and called in assistance from the Emergency Response Unit, the Special Detective Unit and the Regional Support unit and chief negotiators.

Mrs Harton was released after about one and a half hours and the defendant left the house at around 3.20pm.

The false imprisonment charge can carry a life sentence. Mr Harton has not yet entered a plea to the charges.

He told the court that he lives in Tallaght at his own family home. He said he and his wife are going through a separation but she had often called him over in relation to their son. He agreed with defence counsel John Griffin that he would stay away from his wife and the Dublin 18 area.

Counsel said the accused had two sisters in court offering to stand bail in the sum of €2,000.

Mr Harton said the gun was a World War 1 decommissioned Luger that he had bought for his son who is an avid collector of war memorabilia. He had not brought it to the house and it was unusable, he said.

Judge Lindsay refused bail and remanded him in custody to appear at Cloverhill District Court on February 24. Legal aid was granted.


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