Northern Ireland

Drunk driver tried to ram police in east Belfast

A drunken motorist who tried to ram a police car and then told officers he hoped they were blown up has been banned from driving for five years.

Carl Dougherty must also serve two years on probation and undergo anger management for an "horrendous" spree of offending in east Belfast.

The 29-year-old, of Kyle Street in the city, admitted a range of offences, including assaulting police.

They were all committed in the early hours of 21 April.

The other offences Dougherty admitted were: dangerous driving, resisting arrest, criminal damage, disorderly behaviour, failing to provide a breath specimen, having no insurance, and failure to stop, remain at or report an accident.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard police tried to catch him after spotting the Renault Clio he was in driving at speed and erratically in the Newtownards Road and Holywood Road areas.

The motorist attempted to ram the PSNI vehicle after appearing to stop.

Dougherty was later arrested, spitting in one policeman's face during a struggle where four officers were needed to control him.

He refused to co-operate and banged his head off a windscreen, inflicting a cut which required hospital treatment.

A prosecuting lawyer said he continued to be disorderly, shouting abuse at officers.

At one stage he said: "I hope the IRA put a bomb under your car and blow you up," the court heard.

Dougherty later urinated in a police vehicle, the prosecution added.

'Horrendous set of offences'

A defence barrister said his client was ashamed of his behaviour.

"It's an absolutely horrendous set of offences," the lawyer accepted.

It was claimed that Dougherty began drinking after learning that his partner had been diagnosed with a form of cancer which later turned out to be benign.

"In essence he describes it as he fell off the wagon on this one night," the barrister added.

District Judge Harry McKibbin imposed two years probation and disqualified Dougherty from driving for five years after stressing "the enormity of the offences has got to be considered".

Mr McKibbin stipulated that the defendant must participate in anger management and an alcoholism course.

He also handed down a two-year conditional discharge for the failures to stop.

The judge warned that any further offending would likely lead to Dougherty being jailed.