Stinger device halts six-mile high speed car chase, Magherafelt Court told

Magherafelt Courthouse.
Magherafelt Courthouse.

A suspicious vehicle following a judge’s car sparked a six-mile high speed chase along the Glenshane Pass, Magherafelt Magistrates Court was told.

Charles Paul Mongan (26), of Lagmore Avenue, Dunmurry was jailed for four months on charges of dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, driving while disqualified and having no insurance.

Banning Mongan from driving for three years, District Judge Bernie Kelly said it had been “an exceptionally bad piece of driving”.

The court heard the defendant followed the judge’s vehicle out of Dungiven, speeding up when it increased speed and tailgated it for a time before overtaking.

A prosecuting lawyer said the incident happened around 4pm on September 19 last year.

He said police used flashing lights and sirens while attemping to stop the vehicle which had been acting suspiciously.

The lawyer said the vehicle had taken off and speeds of 130mph were recorded during which there were a few near collisions with other vehicles.

The prosecutor said the vehicle travelled through Knockloughrim at 80mph before it was brought to a halt by a stinger device at Hillhead Road.

He added that the defendant was spotted scrambling out of the driver’s seat and getting into the rear of the vehicle.

A defence solicitor said it had been a horrendous piece of driving.

He said Mongan, accompanied by two brothers and a cousin, had been coming from his brother’s trial in Derry and decided to stop at a shop in Dungiven.

He said they pulled out as the judge’s bodyguard drove pass and later overtook the car.

The solicitor explained the ensuing chase included a police armed response unit and involved at least eight vehicles.

He added that while Mongan had an atrocious record he had received a positive report from probation.

Judge Kelly remarked that she was particularly concerned by the high speed going through Knockloughrim village.