Two in court in Derry over death of Constable Philippa Reynolds

Constable Philippa Reynolds was killed on Saturday. Keiron Tourish reports for BBC Newsline

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Two men have appeared in court in Londonderry charged over the death of a policewoman.

Constable Philippa Reynolds, 27, died in a crash involving a stolen Land Cruiser at the Limavady Road, Derry, at 03:40 GMT on Saturday.

In court were Shane Christopher Frane, 25, and Conor Tyrone Clarence, 23, both of the Simon Community hostel on Bonds Hill, Derry.

The pair, who were remanded in custody, face a total of 14 charges.

Mr Frane faces 10 charges.

They include causing the constable's death by dangerous driving, driving while unfit due to drink or drugs, aggravated vehicle taking causing death, the burglary of a house in Fountain Hill, failing to remain at the scene and failing to report an accident.

He replied "yes", when asked if he understood the charges.

The defendant Mr Clarence is also charged with aggravated vehicle taking causing the death of Constable Reynolds, the burglary of a house in Fountain Hill and assisting an offender with intent to impede his apprehension or prosecution by changing clothing in an apparent attempt to disguise identity.

He also said he understood the charges.

Both defendants were arrested in a flat in the Simon Community hostel, six hours after the fatality.

A detective constable told District Judge Barney McElholm he believed he could connect the defendants to all the charges.

Solicitor David Brewster, representing Mr Clarence, said his client had given a full account of his role.

'Expressed remorse'
Shane Frane (l) and Conor Clarence Shane Frane (l) and Conor Clarence face a total of 14 charges.

The detective constable confirmed that Mr Clarence during interview, stated that he was the front seat passenger in the stolen Land Cruiser.

He said he had fully cooperated with the police and had admitted his role and expressed his remorse.

Mr Brewster said that at this early opportunity, the defendant wanted to publicly express his apology for his role in the tragedy.

As the remand hearing ended, District Judge Barney McElholm said the court also wished to express its condolences to Constable Reynolds' family, friends and colleagues for what he described as her senseless and needless loss of life.

Assembly tributes

On Monday, members of the Northern Ireland Assembly paid tribute to the officer.

The DUP's Gregory Campbell, who tabled the matter of the day, said his prayers were with Constable Reynolds' PSNI colleagues and her family.

Justice Minister David Ford said Constable Reynolds died doing the job "she was so enthusiastic about".

He said her death had deeply affected the PSNI and many throughout the community.

Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin said the death highlighted the danger police officers faced on a daily basis when carrying out their job.

He said it was clear Constable Reynolds was a "remarkable young woman" and a "bright young talent".

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