Belfast Telegraph

Teen accused of jogger Lesley-Ann's death denied bail change

By Staff Reporter

An Armagh man accused of killing a teenager in a hit-and-run collision has reacted angrily after being told there would be no changes to his bail terms.

Nathan Finn (18) of Keady Road, Armagh, is charged with causing the death of Lesley-Ann McCarragher by dangerous driving on April 9 last year, as well as causing death while having no driving licence or insurance.

Ms McCarragher (19) was struck when she jogging along the Mongahan Road in Armagh. She was airlifted to hospital but died from her injuries.

Finn's case is awaiting transfer to the Crown Court for trial but has been delayed by the absence of a co-accused, who the court was told continues to evade police despite efforts to locate him.

A European arrest warrant is in the process of being completed, which will allow the co-accused to be detained on sight.

Unlike Finn, who was arrested, charged and appeared in court at the outset, the co-accused was not on bail.

Finn was granted bail after first being charged on April 11, 2016, except for a period of remand in custody at his own request, just under two weeks later.

He was later bailed in the sum of £200 with strict conditions, including having no contact with any members of the McCarragher family or any witnesses, and attending a police station weekly. He is also banned from taking any drugs or alcohol.

Finally, he is prohibited from driving any vehicle, nor is he to travel in one unless it is driven by his father, brother or sister.

It was the last bail condition which Finn sought to change at Armagh Magistrates Court yesterday.

The defence said his client will shortly start a college course and needs transport.

However, the court was told his sister is moving to Belfast, his brother is travelling to and from Scotland with work, and his father is in poor health. Finn wished to add his girlfriend, cousin and another brother and their vehicles to the approved list.

However a prosecutor objected, pointing out that police are already monitoring three vehicles and drivers and a further three could prove difficult to manage. In addition, Finn's girlfriend is to be prosecuted for driving without insurance and providing a false document.

The cousin in question has an extensive criminal record and was subject to a three-year driving disqualification in the past.

He is also wanted in relation to outstanding warrants.

The prosecution said: "It is felt these persons could not exercise appropriate control in the circumstances."

But police said they were willing to allow Finn's brother to replace one of the existing drivers.

The defence said: "The application is to add on and not to replace."

He pointed out the case had been ongoing for some time and while acknowledging the sensitivities of the matter, he said the application for more drivers was in support of Finn's education.

District Judge Alan White rejected any question of additional drivers and vehicles stating: "I am not adding on anything.

"That would be too much to monitor.

"I am prepared to have one of the existing drivers replaced with the brother.

"Your client can decide who he wants replaced."

Defence counsel walked to the dock and spoke briefly to Finn who scowled at the judge.

The barrister then told the court: "On the basis of the decision of the court this need proceed no further."

Judge White ordered the application to be dismissed.

Finn stormed from the dock passing within a few feet of Lesley-Ann's family who were seated in the gallery.

The case has been adjourned until next month.

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