‘Glue-sniffer’ stole emergency hammer from bus in Clogher

Lough Ree Lifeboat searching for missing Armagh angler Daryl Burke.
Lough Ree Lifeboat searching for missing Armagh angler Daryl Burke.

A glue-sniffer arrested in Clogher accused of stealing an emergency hammer from an Ulsterbus was once kidnapped and tortured by paramilitaries, he told the High Court on Friday.

A judge also heard how Martin Galvin claimed he smashed a glass panel and took the hammer because he feared other passengers were going to attack him.

Details of his alleged “chaotic” earlier life were revealed as he was granted bail on charges of theft, possession of an offensive weapon and possessing cannabis.

Galvin, 25, of Pilot Street in Belfast, was arrested on board the bus in Clogher, Co Tyrone in October last year.

Police found the emergency hammer in his pockets along with a small quantity of cannabis wrapped inside a £20 note, the court heard.

A prosecution lawyer said the defendant had appeared to be under the influence of solvents at the time.

“Bizarrely he claimed to police that he had armed himself with the hammer because he felt he was going to come under attack from people who had got on the bus,” the barrister added.

Mr Justice Weir was told Galvin had been travelling to relatives in Sligo.

Defence counsel Damien Halleron described his client as a “nuisance” who has been abusing drugs and glue since childhood.

At one stage in the bail application Galvin, who appeared via a prison video-link, detailed a past lifestyle which he said has left him suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I was kidnapped when I had just turned 16 and tortured by paramilitaries,” he claimed.

“I was attacked in my sleep three years ago with a bottle.”

He told the judge his main addictions had been glue and cannabis, adding that he has been clean since Christmas.

Granting bail, Mr Justice Weir imposed a ban on Galvin taking any alcohol, illegal drugs or solvents.

He warned the defendant: “In the area where you live, you must see lots of people 10 years older than you who are just burnt out.

“That’s how you are going to end up if you don’t tackle this.”