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Jailed: Man who beat up his own mum, then went on car crime rampage across Belfast

By Alan Erwin

Published 29/02/2016

A man who beat up and threatened to stab his mother in a row over his drug use and went on a car crime rampage across Greater Belfast has been jailed for five months.

Matthew Morrison was also fined more than £1,000 for a catalogue of separate motoring offences, including crashes and high-speed escapes from pursuing police.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall told the 21-year-old he was lucky his actions had resulted in no fatalities.

She said: "This is the sort of thing that does terrorise communities."

Morrison, of Mervue Street in the city, pleaded guilty to common assault, threats to kill, and possession of an offensive weapon, namely a kitchen knife.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he had started shouting at his mother while holding the knife when she challenged him about drugs use in January last year.

A prosecution lawyer said Morrison pulled her to the ground and punched her repeatedly about the head, inflicting serious swelling and bruising.

Details were also disclosed of a litany of motoring crimes, including aggravated vehicle taking causing damage, multiple counts of failing to stop for police, dangerous driving, failing to report or remain at the scene of an accident, and careless driving.

He also admitted driving while unfit through drink or drugs, possession of cannabis, driving while disqualified, having no insurance and no licence.

The offences covered six different incidents across Belfast and Newtownabbey between April 2014 and December 2015.

Morrison was behind the wheels of vehicles that mounted pavements and drove through built up neighbourhoods at around 70mph in a bid to escape police, the court heard.

He also collided with other cars during his crime spree.

Defence counsel Michael Boyd accepted his client was "a complete menace on the road".

The barrister stressed that Morrison was still young and grappling with issues that at one stage led to him being detained under the Mental Health Act.

"Around this time last year he was quite obviously out of control," Mr Boyd added.

Judge Bagnall pointed out how Morrison had breached previously deferred sentences.

"This is a young man who seems to think the law just doesn't apply to him and he can do as he likes," she said.

"He's very lucky that he's not looking at being returned to the Crown Court for a fatality."

Imposing a total five-month prison sentence, she also disqualified Morrison from driving for three years.

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