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Drunken motorcyclist jailed for racist abuse of officer after chase

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Young children were playing outside, and parents were trying to grab them out of the way of the speeding motorbike

Young children were playing outside, and parents were trying to grab them out of the way of the speeding motorbike

PA Wire/PA Images

Young children were playing outside, and parents were trying to grab them out of the way of the speeding motorbike

A man has been jailed for driving offences and a racially aggravated attack on police following a chase in Co Tyrone.

John Paul Morrow (26), whose address was given as Maghaberry Prison, admitted driving dangerously while disqualified and without insurance, excess alcohol, disorderly behaviour, assaulting police and resisting arrest.

Dungannon Magistrates Court heard how, shortly before 6pm on April 17, police were alerted to a report that Morrow was drunk while riding a motorbike in Coalisland.

On seeing officers, he made off along Washingbay Road at high speed, swerving back and forth, breaching the white line. He made a hand gesture towards police, they turned into another road, mounting the footpath and still at high speed.

Young children were playing outside, and parents were trying to grab them out of the way of the speeding motorbike.

Morrow then tried to ride it up a set of steps, but metal barriers slowed him down. One officer was able to catch up on foot, but Morrow managed to get the bike further up the steps.

Other police, however, were at the top and on seeing them, Morrow dumped the bike and fled. When officers gave chase, he threw his crash helmet at them.

An officer shouted for him to stop, at which he raised his clenched fists and responded: "What the f*** are you going to do about it P*** b******?"

Due to the threat of violence, the officer struck Morrow's lower leg, which had minimal effect.

Instead he continued to advance, took off his jacket and threw it at the officer, whilst shouting aggressively.

He curled up on the ground with his hands beneath him, making it difficult for handcuffs to be applied.

In the struggle, a bottle of Buckfast fell from his clothing.

A relative emerged from a nearby property and tried to calm Morrow down, but he continued to shout out specifically targeting one officer whom he racially abused.

He failed a preliminary breath test and remained verbally abusive, calling the officer racist names.

Following arrest, he provided a "no comment" interview.

A defence lawyer conceded the incident was aggravated by racial hostility and Morrow "offers his apologies to the officer in particular for that diatribe".

He said: "This is a classic case of someone who presents as two different individuals when drunk and sober.

"He concedes he is a nasty individual and isn't able to control himself while he has consumed alcohol. But when he's sober, you wouldn't wish to meet a quieter person. I would even go so far as to say he is shy, but when he takes alcohol he has no control of himself whatsoever.

"His actions were completely and utterly unacceptable."

Pointing out there is a suspended sentence on record for Morrow's previous offending, District Judge Michael Ranaghan said: "This is his fourth conviction for driving with excess alcohol, third driving while disqualified, sixth no insurance second dangerous driving - this latest being particularly bad. I've evidence parents had to take young children out of the way from the danger he presented."

The judge continued: "The abuse he subjected the officer to cannot be tolerated by any court. This was racially motivated".

Collectively, including the activated suspended sentence, Morrow was jailed for eight months, and disqualified from driving for four years.

Belfast Telegraph