Northern Ireland news

Castlederg man refused bail after being charged with hijack and kidnapping

A 32-year-old man has been remanded in custody following a hijacking and kidnapping.

Aaron Lynch from Main Street, Castlederg, Co Tyrone, is charged with hijacking a van and kidnapping the male driver, while brandishing a hunting knife.

It is further alleged that following arrest Lynch damaged the interior of a PSNI vehicle on August 4 in the Market Square area of Omagh.

A detective constable told Omagh Magistrates Court that shortly after 2pm police received a 999 call from the driver who described the defendant opening the passenger door of his van and jump in clutching a “Rambo-style” knife, 12 inches in length and housed in a sheath.

Lynch, who was noted to smell strongly of alcohol, instructed the man to “drive him about the town”.

On refusing, Lynch drew the knife from the sheath, pointed towards the driver and said: “I need to get out of here. I’m UDA. I’m on the run.”

The driver moved off and Lynch asked him, “Are you a Fenian b*****d? Do you know who I am? I’m Aaron. What’s your name?”

The driver continued onto the Dublin Road and the traffic was very slow moving, leading Lynch to shout abuse out the window at others on the street.

He turned to the driver and said, “I suppose you are really afraid of me because I have a knife.”

The driver pulled into a parking space outside a bar, telling Lynch he would be back in a minute.

The driver ran into the bar and called police.

Meanwhile, Lynch made off on foot with the knife tucked under his left arm but was later arrested by police and the knife was found lying under a car.

Police objected to bail.

Deputy District Judge Sean O’Hare said he was not prepared to consider releasing Lynch unless appropriate measures were put in place and suggested the defence make efforts to find a facility to which Lynch would be admitted for addiction treatment.

The case will be mentioned again next month.

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