Northern Ireland news

Man allegedly tried to injure police officers attempting to stop stolen car

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard police tried to block and halt a BMW

A BELFAST man allegedly tried to injure two police officers attempting to stop a car stolen during a suspected burglary spree, a court has heard.

Gerard Skelly is accused of motoring offences in the city hours after three homes were broken into in Coleraine and Garvagh, Co Derry.

The 40-year-old, of Norglen Drive in Belfast, faces a total of 18 charges connected to an alleged crime spree on Monday.

They include three counts of burglary, aggravated vehicle taking causing damage, two attempts to inflict grievous bodily harm on PSNI constables, and other motoring offences.

He is also accused of possessing a knife following his detention in a car park at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard police tried to block and halt a BMW at the junction of Millfield and Divis Street.

The car had been stolen earlier that morning during one of the burglaries in Coleraine.

According to an investigating detective the vehicle kept moving as an officer reached in to try to seize the keys.

The BMW then sped off before being abandoned at Sorella Street in the west of the city.

Skelly was arrested in the hospital grounds based on an alleged clothing description.

Defence solicitor Fergal MacElhatton argued that the case against his client is weak.

"There's no physical evidence or DNA evidence linking him to the burglaries, and there's a six-hour gap in the timescale," he told the court.

Mr MacElhatton also claimed inappropriate police actions following his client's arrest had "contaminated" the identification process.

Refusing bail, however, District Judge Fiona Bagnall held there was a risk of re-offending and danger to the public.

She remanded Skelly in custody to appear again by video-link in four weeks.

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