Belfast Telegraph

Youth accused of fleeing from car that rammed police is found hiding on Belfast bus depot roof

By Alan Erwin

A youth accused of fleeing from a stolen car that rammed into two police vehicles was found hiding on a bus depot roof, a court has heard.

The 16-year-old - who cannot be identified - had allegedly waded through a river as part of efforts to escape a pursuit through west Belfast which led to four officers being injured.

On Monday a judge heard claims that he was the passenger in a Seat Alhambra allegedly driven by 19-year-old Ryan Devlin.

Both defendants face six charges involving aggravated vehicle taking in connection with the incident on Friday night.

Devlin, of St James' Road in the city, is further accused of driving while disqualified and having no insurance.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard the Seat was stolen during a creeper-style burglar at Bladen Drive in the south of the city.

Later that night police spotted the vehicle on the Glen Road and began their pursuit.

The car then halted abruptly and reversed at speed into their car, injuring two inside, according to an investigating detective.

One of the PSNI constables got out, smashed a window on the Seat and directed CS spray at the driver and passenger, the court heard.

However, the pair managed tp drive off, with a police helicopter said to be tracking their movements.

The detective said a second PSNI car took up the pursuit at speeds of up to 80mph onto the Whiterock Road.

He claimed the Seat looped around and drove into the side of the police vehicle, causing extensive damage.

Both occupants abandoned the stolen car at Whiterock Close, with Devlin arrested a short distance away, the court heard.

But the hunt for the younger defendant continued was said to have continued for another half hour. 

"He reappeared at the Falls Bus Depot, hiding on the roof of the depot, and was then detained," the officer claimed.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall was told the youth's clothing was soaking wet - leading police to believe he had gone through a river to get to the depot.

"Police would say he went to extraordinary lengths to avoid them on the night in question," the detective added.

Defence counsel John O'Connor argued there was no facial recognition of the accused from the helicopter.

He also contended that there had been a gap in recorded footage of the incident.

Refusing bail to both defendants, however, Judge Bagnall said: "I'm quite content there's a strong danger to the public if the events unfolded as described by police."

She remanded them both in custody to appear again by video-link on February 8.

As Devlin was led from the dock he shouted expletives followed by the republican slogan "Tiocfaidh ar la".

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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