Defendant’s DNA found on stolen car

The court house in Bishop Street.

The court house in Bishop Street.

A man whose DNA was found on a stolen car has had a five month sentence suspended for three years.

Daniel Armstrong, of Fernabbey Drive, pleaded guilty to taking a motor vehicle without authority between March 17 and March 19, last year.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard a car was stolen following a burglary in the city.

It was found the following day in the Rossnagalliagh area and was forensically examined, the court heard.

The twenty-three-year-old’s DNA was found on an empty can of beer inside the car.

It was also found on the steering wheel of the vehicle, the court heard.

During police interview, Armstrong made no comment to the allegation that he had driven the stolen car, the court was told.

Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley told the court his client has a ‘bad record’ for relevant offences.

However, he added that there are no other matters pending against Armstrong and these offences were committed over a year ago.

Suspending the sentence, District Judge Barney McElholm said ‘if he had damaged this vehicle I would have had no hesitation sending him back to prison’.

District Judge McElholm said Armstrong ‘doesn’t appear to have resumed his car stealing career since he served a lengthy enough period in custody.

‘If he does resume it and is back before the court in the next three years he will get a lengthy custodial sentence’.