Pensioner fought off Derry car-jackers

Published Tuesday, 11 March 2014
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A 71-year-old woman fought off two would-be hijackers when they attempted to take her car as she was parking the vehicle in her church carpark on Sunday morning, a court in Londonderry has heard.

Pensioner fought off Derry car-jackers
The men face a litany of charges. (© UTV)

Margaret West, a member of the Christ Church choir, was parking her Vauxhall Corsa car in the Northland Road area of the city when the men approached her.

The pensioner struggled with them as they tried to get into the passenger's side and driver's side.

Ms West took the car keys from the ignition and put them into her pocket before the two men ran off.

The disclosure was made by a detective constable as two local men, both aged 20, appeared in court on Tuesday each charged with 18 offences linked to public order and road traffic incidents in the Christ Church, Park Avenue, De Burgh Terrace and Groarty Road areas of Derry city on Sunday morning.

The co-defendants are Ryan McGlinchey, a painter from Benview Estate in Coshquin, near Derry and Vincent Gill, a student from Sackville Court in the city.

Gill, who has 22 previous convictions, and McGlinchey, who has nine previous convictions, are charged with assaulting Ms West, attempting to hijack her car and with attempting to rob her.

They are also charged with assaulting Thomas Agnew, 63, outside his De Burgh Terrace home and with hijacking his Peugeot van.

They are additionally charged with the arson of the van which was found on fire at Groarty Road, dangerous driving, driving without insurance and without a licence, driving while unfit due to alcohol or drugs and with failing to report, stop and remain at the scene of a road traffic accident.

A detective constable told District Judge Barney McElholm that the police received a phone call from Ms West at 10.17am on Sunday stating that two men had tried to hijack her car.

"She refused to give them the keys and she took the keys out of the ignition and put them into her pocket," the officer said.

The police witness said the police then received a call from Mr Agnew stating that he'd been assaulted outside his De Burgh Terrace home by two men who then hijacked his van.

He said Mr Agnew sustained a fracture to the left side of his face and that he'd given similar details about his attackers as those given by Ms West.

The officer said a member of the public then contacted the police to report that he'd seen a Peugeot van doing doughnuts in nearby Park Avenue and that a further caller stated his cafe had been struck by the same vehicle in the same area.

The witness said the burning van was located at 10.38am on fire at Groarty Road.

Both defendants, who matched the descriptions given, were seen in the area.

They ran off across fields before they were caught by officers who used CS spray to restrain them.

The officer said CCTV footage from the Northland Road and Crawford Square areas showed two men wearing similar clothing to that worn by the defendants at the time of their arrest.

He said the defendant Gill told the police "he was out for a stroll" at Groarty Road and that the defendant McGlinchey said he ran off because "he was high on drugs from a party on Saturday night."

Both defendants, who deny the charges and who deny being the men captured on the CCTV footage, were remanded in custody until 27 March.

© UTV News
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1 Comments
Proud in Belfast wrote (202 days ago):
Super Gran!! Dont let the hoods win...
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