Belfast Telegraph

Drunk driver jailed after speeding with stolen car

By Michael Donnelly

A drunken disqualified driver caught after abandoning an Audi car 'stolen to order' has been jailed and banned from driving for five years.

Judge Geoffrey Miller QC told Gerald Hugh O'Neill that his driving was a "particularly bad piece of driving involving a concerted effort to avoid detention by driving at high speed".

O'Neill, who admitted aggravating vehicle taking, and driving whilst disqualified had shown "no consideration for the danger ... either to himself or more importantly, innocent fellow road users and pedestrians".

"The fact that he was clearly under the influence of either alcohol or drugs only serves to act as an aggravating feature to what is already a very serous case," said Judge Miller.

He added that it seemed "clear that the car was stolen to order".

An earlier hearing was told the Audi was stolen in Templepatrick last March, and later spotted in west Belfast.

Over the next 15 minutes there was a police chase during which the Audi was driven dangerously at speeds of up to 70mph through several red lights, and even avoided a 'stinger' device.

The police helicopter followed the car to where it was abandoned in Andersonstown, and O'Neill was apprehended.

O'Neill was given three years for taking the Audi, with a consecutive six months for disqualified driving.

He was given lesser terms to run simultaneously for failing to provide a specimen and driving without insurance, making an effective sentence of 21 months custody, followed by 21 on licence.

Belfast Telegraph


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