Belfast Telegraph

Killer driver Nathan Finn back in custody over ‘major breach’ of bail after he went to buy puppy

By Staff Reporter

A death driver has been returned to custody after another breach of bail.

Nathan Finn had been bailed to allow him to attend counselling prior to being sentenced for causing the death of Armagh teenager Lesley-Anne McCarragher.

An excuse for the breach - that Finn's father was buying him a puppy as a surprise - was rubbished by the judge, who said this was a stupid signal given "his future is prison".

Finn (19) of Keady Road, Armagh caused the death of Lesley-Anne by dangerous driving while without a licence or insurance.

The 19-year-old was struck at Monaghan Road in Armagh on April 9, 2016 by a car driven by Finn, who fled the horror scene without stopping.

Having been on bail since his initial charge, Finn first appeared at Newry Crown Court last December, denying all charges. But a breach occurred at Christmas and he was remanded in custody.

In January he switched his plea, admitting everything. Bail was then sought and granted on very strict terms, primarily to allow for counselling.

A specific term banned Finn from driving and using public transport. Travel was only permitted if driven by his father or sister, and only for medical, counselling and legal appointments.

But on May 28 at 9.40pm police spotted him in Dungannon. His father was driving and he told police they were purchasing a puppy.

Finn was later arrested and spent some time in hospital as a precaution. On discharge he was brought before Newry Crown Court.

Defence counsel urged Judge Melody McReynolds not to return Finn to custody.

It was contended that due to the onerous bail terms Finn spent a lot of time around the family home, so his father decided to buy him a dog as a surprise.

At this point, prosecution counsel interjected saying police "are firmly of the view" Finn was intending to sell as opposed to purchase a puppy.

Judge McReynolds said: "It is of little difference. Buying a puppy is giving this man a very stupid signal. It was an act of extreme foolishness.

"He was allowed to be at large to address his mental health issues and that was against the backdrop of a previous breach.

"A huge level of trust was placed on the father. It was a stupid thing for the father in seeking to buy his son a puppy when his future is custodial," the judge added.

She refused bail and Finn was taken into custody, but a short time later his defence asked for the case to be revisited, as he wished to make further representations.

It was contended Mr Finn Snr "openly asserted" he regularly drives his son to mass and drops him at a gym.

Judge McReynolds replied: "The fact there has previously been regular flouting of bail does not assist this case. The bail terms were very specific, very tailored.

"The court is now being told these were being regularly breached. This was a major breach. What was the father thinking?"

Revoking bail, Judge McReynolds concluded: "It is very sensible he returns to the Young Offenders Centre today."

Belfast Telegraph

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