Man charged in connection with events on a ‘night of absolute mayhem’

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66
Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

A man charged with 32 offences relating to a ‘night of absolute mayhem and potential carnage’ has been refused bail.

Christopher O’Reilly, of Glenabbey Drive, appeared at the local magistrate’s court yesterday afternoon charged in connection with alleged incidents in the Carnhill and Shantallow areas of the city.

The court heard allegations that two men were seen with ‘metal type objects’ on the afternoon of November 18 before going into 22-year-old O’Reilly’s flat.

A report was received of three men fighting in the street a short time later and one of these was allegedly identified as O’Reilly.

A woman is said to have intervened in the fight and she was grabbed by the throat.

An altercation is also alleged to have taken place inside the 22-year-old’s flat and O’Reilly was seen lying on the stair case ‘high on drugs’, it was claimed.

He was helped inside his flat by a man and a person who was inside the property allegedly held a samurai sword to this man’s throat. It is alleged O’Reilly then left his flat with two others and they went in the direction of Amelia Court.

The court heard allegations a house was attacked in this area and O’Reilly produced a gun and handed it to another man.

A car was allegedly stolen from the Drumleck Gardens area a short time later.

The court also heard about an alleged incident in the Galliagh Co-Op where glass bottles were used to attack members of staff and the public.

A car owned by a security guard was also allegedly damaged.

It is alleged the men broke into houses in Rossnagalliagh and Galliagh Park. During the second break in it is alleged a handgun was produced and they demanded car keys from the occupant. A young child was in the property at the time.

A further attempted hijacking is alleged to have occurred in Rossnaglliagh in which a handgun was reportedly used.

The court heard allegations of further attempted hijacking in Earhart Park.

It is also alleged a house in Altcar Park was broken into and a gun was pointed at a woman’s head.

Her eight-year-old son was allegedly in the property at the time and the woman ‘believed she was going to die’.

A further claim was made that a gun was pointed at the head of a 12-year-old boy in the Ardnamoyle Park area prior to an attempted hijacking.

It is alleged during this attempt the gun was fired as the car owner chased the alleged hijackers.

Opposing bail, an investigating officer said police believe O’Reilly was among those responsible for a ‘sustained and unprovoked attack on the community. Extreme fear was caused and a firearm was used to intimidate members of the community’.

The officer said police believe the ‘safest place’ for the 22-year-old at the moment is in custody.

He added that police fear O’Reilly will commit further offences and will not adhere to bail conditions.

Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley said the allegations are of a ‘night of absolute mayhem and potential carnage’. However, he said his client made the case during interview that he left the company of the other men ‘before the mayhem ensued’ and had provided an alibi.

Deputy District Judge Oonagh Mullan refused bail for fear of further offences and fear of interference with witnesses.

O’Reilly will appear in court again via videolink on December 11.

Two other men arrested in connection with the alleged offences remain in police custody.