Bangor man Robert Beck accused of threatening to 'whack' Jamie Bryson and other loyalists

Jamie Bryson

A man who allegedly threatened to kill Jamie Bryson and other loyalists by having them “whacked” claims he is being framed, the High Court has been told. Robert Beck, 60, is accused of making a menacing phone call and warning on social media that they are legitimate targets who will be attacked on sight. Beck, of Seacliff Road in Bangor, Co Down, faces charges of threatening to kill Mr Bryson and breaching a restraining order not to contact him.

The court heard that the high-profile loyalist activist answered a phone call from an unknown number on June 1 this year. Mr Bryson recognised the voice of a man who identified himself as Bobby Beck, according to the prosecution. Crown lawyer Sarah Minford said: “(The caller) stated that he and a number of other males had until midnight before they would be whacked.” Mr Bryson, who managed to record the final part of the call, believed it to be a threat against his life. Thirty minutes later he was made aware of a posting on Facebook which allegedly referred to him and other individuals. “(It stated) they ‘need to look over their shoulders, they are targets and will be attacked on sight, the gloves are off’,” Ms Minford submitted. When arrested Beck denied making any threats and claimed to have lost his phone, the court heard. “He said it could have been another person… and that he had been made aware of posts made without his knowledge on Facebook,” the prosecutor added. “He maintained that he was the victim of a plot… to frame him.” Beck had been released on bail, but was returned to custody for allegedly breaching the terms of his residence, curfew and a prohibition on having a mobile phone. Lady Chief Justice Dame Siobhan Keegan was told police discovered two devices at his home. It was also claimed that he also reposted a newspaper article about Mr Bryson. Opposing his bid to be freed again, Ms Minford argued: “The applicant has stated that he had a grievance against the injured party… there is a risk that any escalation in contact could lead to further offences.” Disputing the alleged breaches, a defence barrister contended that Beck was at home when police called to check but remained asleep due to taking medication for depression and anxiety. She claimed one of the mobile phones was defunct, while the other device belonged to another man who left it behind after staying with Beck a number of weeks ago. Dame Siobhan questioned how anyone could do without their phone for so long in the modern world. Adjourning Beck’s bail application, she directed that further checks should be carried out to verify its ownership. The Lady Chief Justice said: “At the moment I’m not satisfied with the explanation given for all of the breaches.”

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