Magherafelt man attempted to ram police car during rampage

A Magherafelt man attempted to ram a police car during an “atrocious” rampage on the roads of South Derry, a court has heard.

Police on mobile patrol at Rockbrooke Road attempted to stop a Vauxhall Vectra around 5.30pm on June 15.

The defendant, Arnold Patrick Devlin, 25, from Leckagh Walk, sped off in the direction of Ballyronan at speeds of 50-60mph on narrow rural roads.

The police pursued the car - which had two other males onboard - before slowing down at a junction. There, he reversed the car into the front of the police car before attempting the ram them again.

Devlin then turned right onto Orr Road without breaking to check for traffic. He narrowly missed colliding with a tractor and was forced into the verge where he struck a fence and again took off at speed.

A puncture to a tyre finally brought the car to a halt where the defendant exited and threw away his car keys.

A solicitor for the defendant told the court that his client had been living in “chaotic circumstances” following a prison sentence which had led him to fall in with “bad company” during a stay in a hostel.

He said that following the recent birth of child he had become more settled and was now in good employment as a grounds worker.

He stated that due to a live death threat against him, Devlin had been unable to engage with the Probation Service before admitting that the matter had now resolved.

He said that it had been a foolish thing for him to do and accepted that he would lose his licence. He stated that the car had been seized and crushed leaving the defendant with no access to any vehicle.

Handing down sentences totalling four months imprisonment, District Judge Alan White said, “This was an atrocious display of driving including the deliberate ramming of a police car. The only appropriate sentence is a custodial.”

He also handed down fines totalling £100. Bail for appeal was set at £500.