Northern Ireland news

Belfast man who drove hijacked car at bystanders jailed

A west Belfast man who smashed through underground car park gates during attempts to take three neighbours' cars was today (Tuesday) jailed for 20 months.

Gerard Silcock, (36), of Mount Eagles Avenue, pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to total of 13 offences arising out a series of incidents in Dunmurry last year.

These included attempted robbery, attempted burglary with intent to steal, attempted hijacking, burgling a house, common assault aggravated taking and causing damage to a Vehicle.

He further admitted aggravated vehicle taking causing damage, aggravated vehicle taking and driving  dangerously, resisting police, driving whilst disqualified, driving whilst unfit through drink or drugss, having no insurance and failing to provide a specimen.

Prosecution lawyer Gareth Purvis said in the first of three incidents just before midday on August 10, 2017, Silcock struggled with with a woman for the keys to her Mercedes car as she arrived at her house in Milford Mews, Dunmurry.

Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland heard that she resisted and managed to throw the keys into a neighbour's house.

Silcock then tried to "force his way into the house and was banging on the door'' but failed to gain entry.

The court was told that Silcock then turned his sights on another woman who had driven into the cul de sac in her Volswwagen car and was trying to get into the underground car park.

Mr Purvis said the defendant started banging on her windoow, forcing her to drive in before the gates were fully open and "scraped the side of her car''causing damage to the vehicle.

In the third incident, Silcock got into a neigbouring property through open patio doors, grabbed the owner by the collar of his shirt and demanded the keys to his father's Subaru car.

"The owner wanted the defendant out of his property and gave him the keys to the car,'' said Mr Purvis.

Police arrived on the scene as Silcock got into the Subaru in the underground car park.

"He rammed his way out of the underground car park, smashing the vehicle into the gates,'' said the prosecutor.

"He drove out at speed and members of the public who had gathered in the street had to evade the path of the car.''

Police were eventually able to force the hijacked car to a halt, smashed the driver's with a baton and detained Silcock who witnesses said had either been drinking or had taken drugs.

The court heard that at the time of the offences Silcock was the subject of a ten year driving ban and was also on bail for other offences which he later received a six months sentence for.

The total damage to the car rampaging spree amounted to almost £8,500 - £5,000 worth of damage to the Subaru, £2,400 to the car park gates and almost £1,000 of repairs to the Volkswagen car.

A defence barrister said Silcock had been abusing drugs and alcohol since the age of 16 and had once been the victim of a punishment beating.

Judge McFarland described the incident as a "serious catalogue of offending'' and jailed Silcock for 20 months in prison followed by 20 months on supervised licence following his release from jail.

He also disqualified the defendant from driving for a period of ten years.

 

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