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Garda killer on driving and drug charges refused bail by Derry court

By George Jackson

Published 22/11/2016

Accused: Martin McDermott
Accused: Martin McDermott

A Garda killer who was jailed for seven years in 2011 has been charged with driving and drugs offences in Northern Ireland.

Martin McDermott (31), who is originally from Raphoe in Co Donegal, was jailed five years ago after he drove a stolen car into a Garda car on the main Londonderry to Letterkenny Road in 2009. Garda officer Gary McLoughlin died from injuries he sustained in the impact.

At Londonderry Magistrates' Court yesterday, McDermott, who now lives at Meehan Terrace in the Waterside, appeared with another man. He and Gary Dobbins (35), from St Eithne's Park in the city, are jointly charged with four drug charges linked to the seizure of 5,600 diazepam tablets, as well as conspiring with two other men to supply the tablets.

Both men are alleged to have committed the offences on March 26 of this year.

McDermott is further charged with offering to supply or sell Pregabalin, better known as Lyrica, and possessing it with a prescription. Those offences are alleged to have occurred last Saturday. He is also charged with driving while disqualified and driving without insurance on the same day.

Dobbins is also charged with driving without insurance and while disqualified, driving without due care and attention and failing to stop for a police officer.

Those offences are alleged to have taken place on a cross border road between Derry and Donegal on October 2.

Opposing bail, a PSNI officer told District Judge Barney McElholm that McDermott had 99 previous criminal convictions in the Republic and 11 in Northern Ireland.

"He was disqualified from driving for 20 years in the Republic of Ireland following the death of a Garda colleague yet he continues to drive without having a driver's licence," she told the court.

McDermott received a seven-year jail sentence in July 2011 for the manslaughter of Garda Gary McLoughlin. The officer died when his squad car was struck at speed by a stolen car driven by McDermott at Burt, Co Donegal, in December 2009.

The police witness said the drugs charges against the two defendants followed an investigation after large quantities of diazepam were intercepted by Royal Mail staff.

This led to properties in Derry and in Belfast being searched. She said one of the boxes of drugs was addressed to Dobbin's home while an empty box related to McDermott's home address.

The officer said in September last year, 5,600 diazepam tablets posted to McDermott's home address were intercepted by the police. She said McDermott's home address was searched on October 21 last year. Police found a box containing information leaflets relating to diazepam patches.

Mr McElholm refused bail to both men, saying that he did not think they would stop offending if released.

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