Belfast Telegraph

'Divis Hoods' suspect Kieran Callaghan is refused bail after motoring charges

By Ashleigh McDonald

A suspected member of the so-called 'Divis Hoods' left a grandfather traumatised after almost hitting him and his two young grandchildren after crashing a car that had been pursued by police, a court has been told.

Kieran Callaghan - who is currently in custody - is "believed to be a member of a well-known group of youths who hang around the Divis area and who are involved in car crime", the High Court heard.

Callaghan (19), from McDonnell Street in west Belfast, has been charged with a string of car crime offences following two incidents in 2014.

He is suspected of being the driver of a Ford Escort that was chased at speeds of up to 70mph in the heavily built-up Crumlin Road area of Belfast on October 14.

At around 4.10pm, the driver lost control in the Woodvale Road area and hit a parked car.

A man walking out of Woodvale Park with his two young grandchildren had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck.

Crown prosecutor Kate McKay said: "This man is still extremely traumatised about what may have happened to his grandchildren."

The driver was seen to exit the vehicle via a window and run off towards the Springfield Road.

Mrs McKay said Callaghan was linked to the scene via DNA taken from a Nike shoe left in the footwell and from a fingerprint on the Escort.

A witness later told police he saw a male running along Ainsworth Pass wearing only one shoe.

The prosecutor also revealed there was CCTV footage of the Escort being pursued up the Crumlin Road at speed before losing control and crashing.

Callaghan was charged with aggravated vehicle-taking, dangerous driving and failing to stop at the scene of an accident.

At the time, he was on bail for interfering with a vehicle, theft and obstructing police after a BMW in east Belfast was broken into last April.

Callaghan was one of three men police found hiding in bushes in Belmont Park.

When he was searched, a bag containing £465 in cash was found, which had been stolen from the glove compartment of another vehicle.

Lord Justice Girvan said there was "clearly" a case against Callaghan.

Also taking into account Callaghan's "bad record" and police concerns about reoffending, the judge refused to grant bail.

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