Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Vicious sex fiend back in court over motoring charges

Sex offender Thomas Ward faces several driving charges

One of Northern Ireland's most dangerous sex offenders has been refused bail on charges of dangerous driving and driving while disqualified.

Remanding 22-year-old Thomas Christopher Charles Patrick Ward into custody at Belfast Crown Court, Judge Kennedy said that given previous bail and court order breaches “there's little likelihood that he would comply” with any bail conditions.

Ward, originally from Coalisland but with an address on the Ormeau Road in south Belfast, is facing trial for charges of dangerous driving and driving while disqualified at Sliabh Dubh View on May 23 this year.

Prosecution lawyer Jonathan Lowry told the court the allegations were that Ward was seen driving at high speed and doing handbrake turns at around 12.30pm when children were around in the west Belfast residential area.

He told the court that the Crown and the police were objecting to the bail application on the grounds that the proposed address was deemed unsuitable.

This was because it is in west Belfast and Ward is barred from entering the west of the city as part of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).

And the lawyer revealed that police had served Ward with a “PM1 form”, suggesting that he was under threat of being shot if he returned to west Belfast.

The SOPO was put in place after Ward, who is a category three sex offender — the most dangerous category — was jailed for four years in 2007 when he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting and falsely imprisoning a 45-year-old woman.

During the attack in March 2006 Ward knocked his victim’s teeth out as she tried to fight him off. The assault only ended after the woman wrapped her handbag around her fist and hit him with it before biting his fingers.

She told how she was then kicked from a car “on to the street like a dog” and forced to run in the dark through a wooded area, where she flagged down a passing motorist.

The female driver found the victim in half-ripped clothes with blood coming from her mouth and scratch marks all over her body.

In refusing the bail application, Judge Kennedy said that while on such driving charges bail is granted “almost automatically”, there had been a “consistent pattern” of breaches.

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