Hit-and-run accused a ‘priority offender’

A seven-year-old girl knocked down in an alleged hit and run in Creggan sustained a fractured skull, a ruptured spleen and a broken jaw, a court heard yesterday.

Details of the girl’s injuries were revealed as 23-year-old David Gerard McCloskey applied for bail at the local magistrates court. McCloskey, whose address was given on court papers as Creggan Heights, is charged with causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving, failing to stop or remain at the scene of an accident. He faces five further motoring offences and two charges of handling cash stolen in the Republic of Ireland. All the offences are alleged to have been committed on June 7.

An investigating officer told the court that the girl was knocked down by a motorcycle driven by McCloskey. A pillion passenger fell off the bike and remained with the injured girl until an ambulance arrived.

The pillion passenger identified McCloskey to police as the driver of the motorbike.

The court heard the 23-year-old was arrested for the motoring offences and was further arrested for handling cash which was allegedly stolen at a birthday party earlier the same day.

The officer claimed that after he was charged with the offences, McCloskey told police: “I am sorry for what I have done”.

He also revealed where he had discarded the motorbike, however it has never been located by police.

Opposing bail, the officer said the proposed address was unsuitable because McCloskey had committed offences at the house in the past.

He added that the 23-year-old has been assessed as a ‘priority offender’ and is managed by the reducing offending unit at the local police station.

The officer told the court police fear McCloskey would re-offend and is an “unsuitable candidate for bail”.

Defence solicitor Keith Kyle said his client “very much regrets the injuries sustained by this young girl” and he had not applied for bail before because he “was aware tensions were high in the community and he wouldn’t be well received in an around the area”.

Refusing bail, Deputy District Judge Oonagh Mullan said there was a real risk of further offences. She added that she was “not convinced” McCloskey would turn up for trial. He was remanded in custody to appear in court again via videolink on August 1.