Car thief jailed after traffic island crash

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A 20 year-old Derry man who crashed a stolen car into a traffic island has been jailed for 15 months.

Patrick Stokes, of 41 Moss Park in Galliagh, admitted burglary and the theft of a car from outside a house at Slievemore Park in the estate on June 14 last year.

Derry Crown Court heard that the burglary took place at night time while the owners of the property were asleep in the house.

A prosecution barrister said that the owner of the car went to bed at 11pm but was woken at 1.20am by police who were making enquiries about the crashed vehicle.

At 12.55am officers were tasked to a road traffic accident in which the Rover car was crashed into a traffic island at the junction of Aileach Road and Ballymagroarty Road.

The front airbags were deployed and both were seized for forensic examination which revealed a full DNA profile matching that of the accused.

The court heard that the accused had a criminal record including a conviction for the aggravated taking of a vehicle, for which he served three months detention in a Young Offenders Centre.

A defence barrister said his client had significant problems including alcohol misuse and drug addiction.

He said Stokes suffered from paranoia and was prescribed anti-depressants by a GP.

Judge Piers Grant said it was “quite clear” that the defendant learned nothing from his previous period in prison.

He told Stokes: “It should have been a salutary lesson to you.”

The Judge added that Stokes “did not respond in any way” to probation and attempts to rehabilitate him previously.

Imposing a 15 month sentence in custody - with half of that term to be served on licence - Judge Grant said: “A custodial sentence is essential in a case such as this.

“I can only hope that you learn from this custodial sentence as you did not learn from the last one.”