Orangeman jailed for driving into crowd signs DUP man's election form
An Orangeman jailed for dragging a schoolgirl under the wheels of his car at an interface has signed the council nomination form of DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst.
John Aughey was jailed for one year after colliding with a crowd of pedestrians at the Ardoyne shopfronts in July 2015 during a nationalist protest over the Orange Order's bid to march past the sectarian flashpoint.
One teenager became trapped under the car suffering serious injuries.
Mr Pankhurst, who is running for re-election to Belfast City Council in the Oldpark ward said that it was a personal decision to ask Mr Aughey to sign his forms.
“John Aughey has been a long term family friend and neighbour. I have known him for many years and I thought it nice to ask him to sign my nomination papers," Mr Pankhurst said.
"I do not think for one minute this will deter anyone from contacting me regarding constituency issues. My record speaks for itself."
Mr Pankhurst pointed out that a number of convicted criminals were standing and canvassing for Sinn Fein, Shankill bomber Sean Kelly attracted criticism when canvassing for Sinn Fein candidate John Finucane ahead of the 2017 General Election.
"Convicted IRA terrorists are Sinn Fein representatives and have served sentences for offences including, bombing, shooting, attempted importation of arms and explosives, murder, and much more," he said.
Six people, including several police officers, were injured when Aughey attempted a U-turn into a parking bay. He said he was driving home from a march and had performed the manoeuvre in a "blind panic" as he believed his car was coming under attack.
His Nissan Pulsar collided with those standing, resulting in serious injuries caused to the then 16-year-old girl who was struck and thrown onto the bonnet before coming trapped under the vehicle.
The teenager - who sustained fractures to her collarbone, pelvis and ankle - was rescued after the vehicle was lifted onto its side by police and others present.
Whilst under the car, Aughey drove over her and she was dragged under the wheels for three seconds. She subsequently said that she felt had Aughey run over her a second time, she would have died.
A loyalist camp was set up a Twaddell Avenue in protest at a Parades Commission decision to bar a return-leg march past the Ardoyne shop fronts on the Crumlin Road in 2013. It was dismantled in October 2016 after an agreement was reached to allow the lodges to complete their march.
Belfast Telegraph Digital