Man reached speeds of 160kph in one of worst cases of dangerous driving

Posted On Dec 22 2019 by

first_imgThe case of a man, who sped away from gardaí at 160kph in a 13 mile chase, has been described as one of the worst cases of dangerous driving heard in Buncrana Court. Ryan Harkin was charged before Buncrana District Court last Tuesday with a total of 11 separate charges.Harkin was accused of eight counts of dangerous driving at various locations along the N13 road from Manorcunningham to Bridgend on June 4. He was also charged with travelling in a stolen car, in Letterkenny, which had earlier been stolen from Ballybrack, Moville, on December 10, and two counts of interfering with cars at Burnfoot on July 30.Derry man Harkin pleaded guilty to all the charges before him.Harkin, 24, was brought to court in handcuffs having being transferred from Castlerea Prison that morning. The court heard that Harkin had been remanded in custody in August when his application for bail, and High Court bail, was refused.Detective Inspector Barry Doyle told the court that on June 4 this year an off duty Garda saw Harkin sitting in a Ford Focus car outside his neighbours house.  He did not recognise the car so he decided to watch the vehicle as he believed the driver was acting suspiciously. A short time later another male appeared from his neighbour’s driveway carrying garden equipment but when he saw the Garda he dropped it and ran to the car. The driver, Mr. Harkin took off at speed, the court heard.Det. Insp. Doyle told the court that the off duty garda contacted the Garda Station and the Ford Focus being driven by Harkin was intercepted by Gardaí in a marked patrol car at the Manorcunningham roundabout on the N13.However he once again refused to stop for Gardaí and took off towards Bridgend.Det. Insp. Doyle said the Gardaí made chase with lights and sirens on but the car failed to stop. He said there were a number of incidents of dangerous driving witnessed by the chasing Gardaí, who were forced to follow at a ‘safe distance’.Speeds of 160kphThe court heard that Harkin, of 6 Glenbank, The Glen, Co Derry, was driving at speeds of more than 160kph and was ‘swerving wildly’ from one side of the road to the other. Det. Insp. Doyle said if there had been oncoming traffic when Harkin was driving like this it could have resulted in a catastrophe.He also said that on a number of occasions Harkin violently slammed on the brakes in what they believed was an attempt to rear end the patrol car.He added: “At one point the patrol car got in front of the Ford Focus in an attempt to get him to pull over but he tried to ram the patrol car. He continued driving at speeds more than 160kph and travelling on the incorrect side of the road. At one point at Burt he forced another vehicle onto the hard shoulder. There could have been a disaster.”The court heard that Gardaí continued with the pursuit but that Harkin got away from them and fled across the border into Northern Ireland. The PSNI were informed but Harkin was not apprehended on this night. Following this incident, six weeks later, Harkin was caught ‘rummaging around cars’ in a Burnfoot housing estate.The court heard that Gardaí received a call from Gerard Arbuckle after his wife got out of bed at 4.15am to get a glass of water and noticed that their car door was open.Det. Insp. Doyle said Mrs. Arbuckle called out to her husband who ran outside and caught Harkin rummaging around in the car.“Mr. Arbuckle apprehended Harkin and locked him in the car. He then called the Gardaí and when they arrived Harkin was arrested and taken to Buncrana Garda Station,” said Det. Insp. Doyle.“The dangerous driving incidents from the previous month were put to him then.”The court heard that both vehicles which Harkin entered were ‘unlocked and there was no damage’ caused to them.Det. Insp. Doyle also told the court that Harkin was spotted in a car, which had earlier been reported stolen from Mr. Casey of Ballybrack, Moville, on December 10, last year.The garda said Harkin was spotted on the CCTV footage from the Dry Arch Filling Station in Letterkenny after Gardaí received a report of theft of fuel from the petrol station.He said it should be noted that Harkin was the passenger in the vehicle and that the value of stolen fuel was €48.Det. Insp. Doyle said the car was later found at the bottom of the Lurgybrack Hill in Letterkenny.42 previous convictionsThe court heard that the Derry man had no criminal record on this side of the border but that he has 42 previous convictions in the North.Det. Insp. Doyle outlined his extensive record, which included eight burglaries, three drugs convictions, 11 for road traffic incidents, seven for theft, two for interfering with a vehicle and one for stealing a car.He said Harkin has previously been given suspended sentences and spent time in prison in Northern Ireland.Defence solicitor Mr. David Henry said his client deeply regrets his actions and wants to apologise to anyone who was affected by his behaviour – particularly those who were involved in the pursuit.Mr. Henry said Harkin had spent the previous three months in prison in Castlerea, adding that it has had a ‘harrowing affect’ on him. He said the Derry man has had no contact with any of his family or friends since his incarceration.Mr. Henry said this has had a ‘profound affect’ on the 24-year-old and he stated that he didn’t want to come to the attention of gardaí again.“This was one repeated incident of dangerous driving,” said Mr. Henry. “He panicked and it was very reckless but there were no injuries or damage caused.“Regarding the over application of the brake, Mr. Harkin said he wasn’t trying to rear-end the garda patrol and instead puts this down to his inexperience as a driver – there was nothing sinister in it,” added Mr. Henry.The Buncrana solicitor asked the Judge to be ‘mindful’ that his client spent three months in prison already and the affect this has had on him.Addressing the court Mr. Harkin said he had previously lived at home with his mum and 14-year-old brother. He said he left school at 16 and did a course at a car breakers but had gone off the rails when his granny, whom he was very close with, died.Judge Paul Kelly said this was ‘as bad a case of dangerous driving’ that he has ever had before him.“The speeds involved here are insane,” said Judge Kelly.“What if your younger brother had of been in one of the cars you met when you were on the wrong side of the road.“Do you ever think that you could have hit someone who was just coming home from work?” he asked Mr. Harkin.“Yes, I’m sorry, I was just afraid and kept going because of peer pressure,” Harkin responded.Judge Kelly said it was “an absolute miracle” that no one was killed or injured but that was ‘no thanks to Mr. Harkin’.The District Court Judge said he would take into consideration the Derry man’s early plea and that he had spent time in jail but he said there was only way of dealing with the case. He sentenced Harkin to a total of four months jail and disqualified him from driving for five years. He was also fined €350Judge Kelly backdated all sentences until August, when Harkin first went into custody, meaning he would only serve a maximum of one month in prison.Man reached speeds of 160kph in one of worst cases of dangerous driving was last modified: November 2nd, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more