Court hears Belfast taxi driver threatened at gunpoint by passenger he had agreed to take free of charge
A BELFAST taxi driver was threatened at gunpoint by a passenger he had agreed to take free of charge, a court heard yesterday.
The would-be robber also pointed the suspected pistol at a police officer during a pursuit on Thursday.
Stephen Dingwall (36) of Lichfield Avenue, Belfast appeared in court charged with attempted robbery, possessing an imitation handgun with intent to cause fear of violence, carrying and making use of a firearm to resist arrest and assault on police.
Belfast Magistrates' Court heard the taxi was flagged down on Albertbridge Road around 2am by a man requesting a lift to a nearby train station, but stated he had no money.
The driver agreed to charge no fare, but when they arrived at the destination, the man allegedly produced a gun and demanded his cash, stating he wanted it to buy cigarettes.
The victim agreed to take him to make a purchase, drove to Ormeau Avenue and pulled up behind a PSNI patrol car where he shouted his passenger had a gun.
It was claimed Dingwall got out of the taxi and fled towards Maryville Street as a policeman gave chase. He allegedly produced the firearm, pointed it at the officer, ignoring requests to drop the weapon.
Dingwall was located by police in a nearby garden and limb restraints were applied when he allegedly kicked out.
The court heard Dingwall asked police: "When am I getting my gun back?"
Opposing bail, a detective said Dingwell had caused "significant distress" to the taxi driver and officer, but a defence solicitor argued the accused should be released amid issues with the evidence against him.
District Judge Alan White refused bail and remanded Dingwall in custody until December 16.