Accused tried to open car bonnet

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A disqualified driver who has been back in court for tampering with a car has been given a three-month jail term suspended for 18 months.

Ballymena Magistrate’s Court heard that the car had been stolen the previous night and that Alan Humphrys (28), originally of Churchill Road, in Larne, but now with an address in Newtownabbey, was trying to open the bonnet.

However, to prevent the vehicle being taken a second time the owner had removed the battery.

Humphrys appeared in court last Wednesday with his mother and admitted tampering with a vehicle at Walnut Grove, in Larne, on January 24 last year.

Defence barrister Aaron Thompson said the car had been stolen the previous night and the next day Humphrys was spotted “interfering” with the bonnet.

Mr Thompson said the defendant had no recollection of the incident because he was intoxicated but he accepted the evidence and pleaded guilty.

The barrister said the car was stolen by somebody else and the next day Humphrys was spotted at the vehicle which meant the owner had been “victimised twice”.

Humphrys, whose criminal record was described by Mr Thompson as “unpleasant”, was given three months in jail suspended for 18 months.

Ballymena Magistrate’s Court was previously told that last September, Humphrys was involved in an incident in Larne when he crashed into three police cars.

He had been wearing a balaclava at the time and said it was so police wouldn’t recognise him as he was previously banned from driving.

A police sergeant in one of the cars had to be taken to hospital for injuries to his back, chest and arms.

A prosecutor said both Humphrys and a front seat passenger in his car were wearing balaclavas and after the crash both attempted to escape but the defendant was caught, although the passenger got away.

Police suspected Humphrys was on drugs and a blood sample showed traces of cocaine, Diazepam, Temazepam and amphetamines.

Humphrys claimed he had only bought the car and was intending to do it up and whilst driving from his home to his mother’s house and “wore a balaclava so police would not recognise him, as he was previously banned from driving”.