Man in court charged with ramming police vehicles in Maghera

The crash happened in south Belfast
The crash happened in south Belfast

Four police officers were injured when an alleged car thief rammed their vehicles in Maghera during a high-speed pursuit, the High Court heard on Wednesday.

Ryan McLaughlin is accused of crashing into them in a Nissan Juke stolen during a house break-in earlier that night.

The 26-year-old, of Broomy Lane in Derry, faces a total of 10 charges over the incident last month.

They include aggravated vehicle taking causing damage, burglary, dangerous driving and driving while unfit through drink or drugs, failing to stop or remain at the scene of an accident, and other motoring offences.

McLaughlin was refused bail due to the risk of further offences being committed.

The Nissan vehicle was taken during a creeper-style raid on a house at The Manse in Derry just before midnight on July 24.

A woman and her eight-year-old daughter were at home when the break-in occurred, the court heard.

The car made off towards the Glenshane Road, with police locating and following it as it headed for Maghera at speed.

Prosecutor Fiona O’Kane said: “The stolen vehicle rammed two police armed response cars, causing damage to both those and the car he was in.

“Four police officers suffered minor injuries.”

The driver of the Nissan then abandoned it and fled on foot, the barrister claimed.

According to Mrs O’Kane McLaughlin was found nearby, face down under a hedge.

He appeared drunk but refused to provide a breath sample, she added.

It was later established that he had received a three-year driving ban in June.

Defence counsel David Heraghty argued that his client must still be presumed innocent.

Urging the judge to grant bail, he added: “The persons living at the burgled address do not provide any evidence against this applicant.

“It’s going to be police officer evidence that’s going to be important at trial.”

However, Mr Justice Stephens rejected the application after citing the accused’s alleged drug abuse.

He ruled: “There’s a risk of offences being committed if I grant the applicant bail.”