Two men charged in connection with Ballynagard Crescent incident

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

Two men have appeared in court charged in connection with an incident in the Ballynagard Crescent area, in which a car was allegedly driven into a house.

Simon Whiteman (33) of Richmond Avenue, is charged with causing criminal damage to gates, dangerous driving and attempted grievous bodily injury to three individuals, including his co-defendant.

Thomas Scarlett (39) of Ballynagard Crescent, is accused of possessing a weapon with intent to endanger life or property.

All the charges relate to an alleged incident on September 27.

An investigating officer told Derry Magistrate’s Court she believed she could connect both defendants to the charges and said that bail was opposed.

The court heard allegations that police received a report of a man, with no shirt on, had been seen driving a car towards a house last Thursday evening.

The house belonged to Scarlett and when police contacted him he said the man who had driven the car was Whiteman.

Whiteman is currently on bail for unrelated offences and the court was told when police carried out a check at his home address, there was no answer.

The officer said at that stage police were treating the case as one of criminal damage.

However, the following day a neighbour of Scarlett’s contacted police to say they had discovered a window in his house had been broken by what appeared to be a bullet.

The neighbour said he had heard a bang the previous evening but had assumed it was fireworks.

There was CCTV in operation at Scarlett’s address and the court was told that after police viewed the footage they were able to link the two incidents.

The officer said that four people could be seen entering the property including Whiteman, his partner and her brother.

After an hour, it is alleged that as Whiteman left the property there was a ‘flash’ and something that looked like a firearm being discharged from the porch of the house.

The court was told Whiteman could be seen driving his car at the gates of the property and at the house in the CCTV footage.

A short time later, it is alleged Scarlett was seen at the rear of his house with something in his hand which was ‘wrapped up in some sort of bag or cloth’.

The court was told police believe he secreted this in the vicinity of a garage because he did not re-enter the house with it.

During police interview, Whiteman initially made no comment. However, after he viewed the CCTV he told police he drove at the house ‘in a rage’ after he was fired upon.

Scarlett was also arrested and denied having fired at Whiteman or having a crossbow or a weapon of any description.

The court heard that neither the car nor the weapon had been found by police despite extensive searches.

Opposing bail, the investigating officer said Whiteman had 114 previous convictions for a range of offences.

She said it was ‘fortunate’ that when Whiteman drove away at speed there were no children around.

The officer also told the court Whiteman has a history of breaching bail and arrest warrants have been issued for him in the past.

In relation to Scarlett, the officer said he had ‘a lesser record’ of 45 previous convictions.

She opposed bail due to fear of further offences and concerns that the defendants are danger to the public.

The officer said police also have concerns about interference with witnesses.

District Judge Barney McElholm refused bail for the defendants because there was ‘too great a risk of reoffending’.

The judge added ‘that at the very least the residents of Ballynagard Crescent deserved to be left in peace.’

Whiteman and Scarlett were remanded in custody to appear in court again via videolink on October 25.