Northern Ireland news

Man 'injected heroin before trying to steal three cars', court told

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard a man tried to snatch the keys to the Mercedes from the owner as she arrived at her Milfort Mews home

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A man accused of smashing through underground car park gates during attempts to take three neighbours' cars claimed he had just injected heroin, a court heard today.

Gerard Silcock allegedly struggled with one woman for the keys to her £25,000 Mercedes, confronted another female motorist and broke into a man's home in a bid to steal his vehicle.

He was arrested after police were called to the scene at Milfort Mews in Dunmurry, just outside Belfast, shortly before midday on Thursday.

Silcock faces charges of attempted hijacking, burglary, attempted robbery, aggravated vehicle taking causing damage to the car and property, and driving while unfit through drink or drugs.

The 34-year-old, of Summerhill Drive in Dunmurry, is further accused of driving while disqualified, having no insurance and resisting police.

Bail was refused due to the risk of re-offending.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard a man tried to snatch the keys to the Mercedes from the owner as she arrived at her Milfort Mews home.

She resisted and managed to throw the keys into a neighbour's house.

The would-be hijacker then turned his attention to another woman who had driven into the cull de sac and was trying to get into the underground car park, according to police.

He allegedly began banging on her window, forcing her to drive in before the gates were fully open and causing damage to the vehicle.

Silcock is then accused of entering a neighbouring property and demanding the keys to a Subaru from a man inside watching television.

According to an investigating detective the owner, fearing for his safety, surrendered them after being grabbed by the shirt.

"As police arrived they noted the Subaru located in the underground car park behind metal gates, it's engine revving," the detective said.

"It was able to smash through the gates, knocking them off the hinges and causing damage to other cars."

Police were able to force the hijacked car to a halt and detained an unsteady Silcock at the scene, the court heard.

The detective added: "He admitted to police that he had just recently injected heroin."

During interviews the accused claimed to have been self-medicating on a cocktail of drink and drugs, with no memory of the previous four days.

Defence counsel Declan Quinn told the court Silcock had recently managed to get clean of a previous addiction to heroin.

Referring to the alleged incident, Mr Quinn contended: It does seem a particularly ham-fisted, somebody under the influence and now regretting taking drugs."

After refusing bail, the District Judge remanded Silcock in custody to appear again by video-link in four weeks time.

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