Ex-Bangor soldier fired ‘over 500 ball bearings’ at neighbour’s house causing £20,000 damage, court hears

A decorated former special forces soldier used catapults to indiscriminately hurl at least 500 ball bearings at his neighbour’s sports car, a court heard today.

With the case against 47-year-old Ivan Jason Giles described as ‘weird’ by District Judge Mark Hamill, Newtownards Magistrates’ Court also heard the ball bearings damaged the car, three different properties, hit two men and that at one point the investigating police “had to take cover” while talking to the victims.

“The fired ball bearings caused over £20,000 in damage,” Constable Johnston said, while defense barrister John Keown acknowledged the evidence against Giles was “overwhelming… He fully accepts that he is responsible for these acts”.

Appearing in court via video link from police custody, bald and bearded Giles, of Ashbury Road in Bangor, spoke in a soft voice to confirm he understood the 23 charges against him.

In allegations spanning a ten-month period from August 28, 2021 to August 3 this year, Giles faces 12 counts of criminal damage, two counts of attempted criminal damage, three counts of common assault, two counts of assaulting the police, two counts of harassment and two counts of intimidation causing a person to leave their residence or employment.

Opposing Giles’ bail, Constable Johnston pointed out that since the incidents began the defendant, who lived about 100-150 yards away, had fired “over 500 ball bearings”.

According to the charges, Giles fired 82 times at a house, causing damage to five cars, six windows, a wooden fence and a garage door.

He also hit the resident with bearings and intimidated him and his partner from their home.

Other charges relate to two neighboring properties, another resident and six vehicles and the court heard that an installed CCTV camera was hit with such ferocity that it ‘shakes the camera’.

In one incident at the end of July, Giles is filmed “holding a catapult with a ball bearing and just throwing it”.

Holding a bag of ball bearings, the officer said these and other catapults were seized while police searched Giles’ home.

Arrested and questioned, he refused to answer police questions, even when shown CCTV footage, but Constable Johnston explained that Giles “has a problem with people” up the street who have a Japanese import car, revealing that Giles himself had lodged several complaints about it.

‘We have a pattern where reports come in from Mr. Giles and then homes are attacked,’ the officer said, adding that ‘we believe he has taken matters into his own hands, believing that the police are doing nothing to this subject”.

Revealing Giles spent more than 20 years in the military, where he ‘served with distinction’ in war zones, Mr Keown said the defendant suffered from PTSD, so the neighbor’s sports car “has aggravated this condition”.

“He saw terrible things during his time in the army, including mass graves,” said the lawyer, who argued that with a clean criminal record, Giles could be released to live at another address.

Describing it as a ‘very unusual case’, in which he was ‘happy there were no injuries’, Mr Keown said Giles’ family had no idea what was going on and were “very worried” about him.

“My main concern is to protect the people of Bangor,” District Judge Hamill said, saying it was a “bizarre case.”

Granting bail in the amount of £500 with a bond of £500, the judge said Giles must live at a police-approved address and informed him he was banned from Bangor, adding “these are the consequences of terrorizing these neighbours”.

Giles was also prohibited from owning or having a catapult or ball bearings as the case was adjourned to August 24.

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