Man on dangerous driving charge was ‘having psychotic episode’, court told

A man has been remanded in custody at Derry Magistrate’s Court charged with attempting to inflict grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving on a police officer who was allegedly carried on the bonnet of a speeding car for 30 metres.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 6th May 2022, 12:03 pm
The incident occurred on the Skeoge Road.

Adam McMonagle (28), with an address in London, appeared in court on Friday on a series of offences that were said to have occurred on May 2.

These include dangerous driving, attempting to cause GBI by dangerous driving, assault on police and driving while disqualified.

A police officer connected the accused to the charges and opposed bail.

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He told the court that police on patrol at Skeoge Link saw an Audi car travelling at speed on the other side of the carriageway.

As police turned to follow the car, they noticed traffic was stalled and saw the driver of the Audi talking to the driver of another vehicle.

Police approached and the driver of the Audi tried to get back into his vehicle.

In an attempt to prevent the car moving off, one officer struck the driver’s window with his baton, breaking the window on the second strike.

The vehicle then took off and struck that officer and another officer who was in front of the vehicle had to jump onto the bonnet.

The court heard the vehicle went ‘faster and faster’ with the officer clinging to the bonnet and travelled for some 30 metres. Eventually, the police officer had to throw himself off, resulting in him suffering bruising, cuts and grazes.

Police then spoke to the driver of the other vehicle who said he had pulled out at a junction and noticed the Audi approaching at speed.

The driver said the Audi pursued him before its driver exited the vehicle and began shouting at him. He said he locked the door of his car as he was ‘fearful and scared’.

Police were given a description of the Audi driver and were able to trace the car which was registered to McMonagle.

The car was later found abandoned and there was a box of beer in the front seat.

CCTV from a nearby shop was checked and the Audi was seen in the car park some hours previously with McMonagle entering the shop and remaining there for 20 minutes.

The court heard he appeared unsteady on his feet.

McMonagle handed himself in to police and made largely no comment interviews.

When asked did he intend to kill the police officer, he made no comment.

Defence counsel Stephen Chapman said it was ‘significant’ that, while McMonagle had been arrested for attempted murder, that charge was not being proffered.

Judge McElholm said he believed the case would be going to the Crown Court.

Mr Chapman said his client claimed he was having a “psychotic episode” at the time and remembered nothing.

The judge said that, if the defendant suffered from psychotic episodes like this, then ‘he was not fit to be on the streets.’

He said these were a ‘very serious set of offences with immediate custody being the only outcome.’

The judge added: “To drive off at speed with someone clinging to the car is putting life at risk.”

Claiming McMonagle was ‘a danger to the public’, Judge McElholm remanded him in custody to appear again on May 26.