Belfast Telegraph

'Car hijacker threw shoe at doctor after being run over,' court hears

By Alan Erwin

A man was hit by a car he was allegedly trying to hijack within hours of being released from custody, a court heard today.

Kenneth Colwell sustained a broken ankle in the collision with the Vauxhall Insignia he attempted to seize control of in Belfast, police said.

A judge was told the 23-year-old then shouted abuse and threats at police and medical staff trying to treat him at the city's Royal Victoria Hospital.

Colwell was said to have thrown a shoe at one doctor on the ward on Monday night.

The accused, of Forthriver Link in Belfast, was arrested after allegedly stepping out onto North Street brandishing some form of fake gun.

He faces charges of attempted hijacking, possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and disorderly behaviour.

Appearing before Belfast Magistrates' Court on crutches, Colwell nodded to confirm he understood the allegations against him.

An investigating detective opposed bail by claiming he posed a danger to the public.

She revealed the suspected attempted hijacking occurred after Colwell was bailed on separate charges from another incident earlier the same day.

Staff and customers had to lock themselves into a Tesco store for their own protection, the court heard.

According to the officer CCTV footage shows Colwell being struck despite the driver of the car trying to swerve round him.

She also told the court: "Because of a media appeal there have been two other victims who have come forward.

"One is a bus driver with Translink who stated a gun had been pointed - this happened around the same time - and another lone female in her car."

It was claimed that Colwell left medical staff and other vulnerable members of the public in a state of fear through his behaviour at hospital.

The detective said he told a police officer: "If I had a real gun I would put one in the back of your head and you would know all about it."

Colwell had also insisted he was only carrying a laser pen, the court heard.

Defence barrister Sean Devine argued that the accused should be granted bail because his injuries reduced the threat of any further offending.

But Deputy District Judge Joe Rice said he could have no confidence Colwell would abide by release conditions.

"We have within a period of 24 hours three separate incidents in which members of the public have been put at real risk, and you are seeking me to re-admit him to bail on the basis of his broken ankle?" Mr Rice asked.

"This is a man who went to the hospital at public expense, conveyed by the police after a very serious incident for him to be treated, and he allegedly put members of the public at the Royal Victoria Hospital in fear, and shouted abuse and threats at police officers and other officials."

Remanding Colwell in custody to appear again on April 22, the judge added: "He has crossed the line, and he's on the wrong side of the line."

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