Major property developer ‘threatened to kill’ ex-lover

A MULTI-MILLIONAIRE property developer allegedly threatened to drown his ex-lover after abducting her in a frenzied fit of jealousy, a court heard yesterday.

Child nursery boss Kathleen McAleese, 49, claimed Norman Menary, 52, flew into a rage during a night of terror after their affair ended, locking her in his car and driving her to a desolate stretch of river near her home in Portstewart, Co Derry.

Amid a torrent of foul-mouthed abuse and hair pulling, Mr Menary only slammed on the brakes at the water’s edge, she claimed.

Ms McAleese told Ballymena Magistrates’ Court: “He told me that if I didn’t tell him where I had been that day he would put me down under. “I understood that to mean that he was going to drown me. The river was right in front of me.

“He was shouting ‘you rotten b****cks, you liar.’ I can seriously say that at one stage I felt I was already dead.”

Mr Menary, a married businessman heavily involved in major real estate schemes along the north coast, also launched another attack on her at his offices in Portstewart, she claimed.

The accused, of Broagh Road, Castledawson, Co Derry, has been charged with threatening to kill, unlawful imprisonment and four counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He sat in the gallery yesterday as Ms McAleese gave a two-and-a-half-hour sworn statement.

Before she became romantically involved with Mr Menary, the pair had a business relationship where she leased the premises for her day nursery on Coleraine Road, Portstewart, from him.

And she added: “There always was a threat that if the relationship ended then so would my business.”

He bombarded her with phone calls demanding to know where she was at every time of the day.

Eventually she even telephoned his wife in a bid to have all contact stopped.

“She had acknowledged that the affair was going on and I spoke to her saying to her that I had got to have this man out of my life.”

Tensions then came to a frightening head after she had gone out for lunch with a male friend without telling Mr Menary.

But later that day as he walked into her sister’s house, Ms McAleese said she could see the “rage in his face”. He bundled her into the car and drove off.

After hearing her deposition, resident magistrate Eamon King ruled there was a reasonable case to answer.

Mr Menary was released on bail to appear at Antrim Crown Court on May 3 when he will be arraigned on all six charges.

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