Belfast Telegraph

Stolen van exceeded 100mph in Belfast chase, court hears

BY ALAN ERWIN

A stolen van was driven at speeds of over 100mph during a police pursuit into Belfast, a court heard.

It struck three different vehicles on the M1 motorway and crashed to a halt in the north of the city, police said.

Details emerged as bail was refused to a man accused of a catalogue of motoring offences linked to the incident on Friday.

Seamus Patrick Shortt (28), of Bruslee Way, Belfast, faces a total of 18 charges.

They include taking the Vauxhall Vivaro without consent, dangerous driving, and failing to stop, remain at or report an accident.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard police pursued the van from the M1 into the city. An officer said it was driven erratically at speeds in excess of 100mph.

The vehicle came off at the Westlink, swerving round stationary cars and narrowly missing pedestrians, he said.

It then headed towards Carrick Hill, pulling out into oncoming traffic as it moved on to the New Lodge district.

The court was told the van was driven at more than 85mph in the city. It was claimed that Shortt was spotted behind the wheel.

Eventually the van crashed just off the Antrim Road, with the accused allegedly seen abandoning it. The police officer said Shortt was arrested after being found hiding in a toilet at his house.

Shortt denied being in the stolen vehicle. A defence lawyer argued that CCTV evidence in the case was brief and unclear.

But refusing bail, District Judge George Conner said: "This is a very serious matter."

Shortt was remanded into custody to appear again in four weeks' time.

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