Belfast Telegraph

Van driven over Derry man's leg, court told

The charges include aggravated burglary and inflicting grievous bodily harm
The charges include aggravated burglary and inflicting grievous bodily harm

A van was allegedly driven over a man's leg with its wheels spinning after a family-related row turned violent, the High Court in Northern Ireland heard today.

James Coyle is also accused of fracturing a woman's jaw before getting into the vehicle outside a house in Derry.

The 32-year-old claims he was trying to reverse away from a mob intent on pulling him out of the van at Drumleck Gardens.

Coyle, of Irwin Crescent in Claudy, faces charges of aggravated burglary, inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent and failing to stop or remain at the scene of an accident.

During a bail application prosecutors said he arrived at his aunt's home in the early hours of May 26.

A co-accused suspected of carrying either a knuckle duster or spanner became involved in a physical argument with another man which ended up out on the street, the court was told.

Conor Maguire, prosecuting, claimed Coyle punched a woman on the face, knocking her to the ground.

He then allegedly got into the van and started the engine as one of the men at the house tried to get him out.

Mr Maguire contended that Coyle reversed the vehicle with his door open, knocking the man to the ground and driving over his leg.

"The applicant then revved the engine, which spun the wheels while the tyre was connected to (the alleged victim's) leg," counsel said.

It was claimed that Coyle reversed off the man before revving the engine and accelerating towards him again, stopping only when his aunt stood in the way.

He collided with two other vehicles as he left the scene, according to the prosecution.

The man said to have been hit by the van remains in hospital with extensive injuries for which the prognosis is still unclear, while the woman allegedly punched sustained a fractured jaw.

Coyle handed himself in to police on July 29, when he provided a statement claiming that he was surrounded by an angry mob of up to eight people trying to remove him from the vehicle.

"He stated that he was on his own and had only arrived to show his face as he had been unable to attend a family communion earlier that day," Mr Maguire continued.

"He said at the time he was in fear of what the mob would do to him."

Defence barrister Sean Doherty argued that his client's account is backed by a neighbour who claimed to have witnessed six people trying to pull him out of the van.

"He (Coyle) was the only person present who was sober; I'm told the others were stupefied with alcohol, drinking from when the communion finished that afternoon," Mr Doherty said.

"He was approached, he was frightened for his life, and he took what steps he had to to get himself out of that situation."

Coyle was granted bail on conditions including a curfew and electronic tagging.

Mr Justice Maguire also banned him from entering Derry or contacting any witnesses. ends  

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