Belfast Telegraph

Warrenpoint police chase driver 'had granddaughter (2) on board', court hears

John Joseph Myles Connors appeared before Belfast High Court on Tuesday (stock photo)
John Joseph Myles Connors appeared before Belfast High Court on Tuesday (stock photo)

By Alan Erwin

A motorist evaded a police stinger before crashing into another car while his two-year-old granddaughter was on board, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors claimed the girl was unrestrained in the Mini driven by John Joseph Myles Connors when it went into a spin following last week's collision in Co Down.

Connors, 38, was then arrested as he tried to flee from the scene near the Upper Dromore Road, Warrenpoint, a judge was told.

Refusing his application for bail, Mr Justice McAlinden said: "A very young child could have been killed."

Connors, of Ganna Way in the town, is charged with a number of motoring offences, including having no licence, dangerous driving, failing to stop for police and failing to stop or remain at the scene of an accident.

He is also accused of fraudulently using a vehicle registration mark.

A Crown lawyer said police spotted him behind the wheel of the Mini with false number plates in the Bridle Loanan area on September 17.

Officers followed the vehicle before a stinger device was deployed in a bid to bring it to a halt.

But the Mini mounted a pavement and overtook several cars, travelling on the wrong side of the road while pedestrians were in the area.

Eventually it collided with a Volkswagen Golf, went into a spin and came to a halt.

"The driver ran from the (Mini) and was pursued by police who detained him," prosecution counsel said.

"Also in the vehicle were the driver's daughter and her two-year-old child, who was not restrained and there was no baby seat for her."

She disclosed that police suspect the same Mini with fake plates is linked to eight burglaries earlier this month.

It was stressed, however, that Connors is not charged with any offences connected to those break-ins.

Seamus Lannon, defending, said his client accepted the dangerous driving and other motoring allegations, but denies the vehicle registration fraud.

"The car was left at his property by a cousin and he succumbed to the temptation to leave his daughter into Newry," the barrister submitted.

But ruling that Connors must remain in custody, Mr Justice McAlinden cited concerns over further offences which could have "devastating" consequences.

He said: "The issue of risk I see in front of me that this man is prepared to engage in, not only endangering his own life, not only endangering his daughter's life, but also endangering the life of a baby."

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