Police and public had to jump out of way of speeding vehicle as County Antrim motorist wanted to get to his 'safe place'

Police and public had to jump out of way of speeding vehicle as County Antrim motorist wanted to get to his 'safe place'

A COURT heard police officers and members of the public had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck by a Randalstown man's speeding vehicle as he fled from the PSNI who were in the middle of carrying out a breath test on him.

Emmanuel Hamilton (47), of Mill View, Randalstown, made off from police at 10.30pm on June 19 last year in the Church View area of Randalstown.

The defendant was then located nearby at his home and a subsequent breath test had a reading of 36 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit is 35.

Hamilton was sentenced at court in connection with charges of dangerous driving; driving whilst unfit and failing to stop for police.

A defence barrister said the defendant indicated that "loyalist paramilitaries" had gone to the defendant's home on three separate occasions to try to "kill him" and in the most recent incident, last year, they had broken in and he was attacked.

She said the defendant had been working as a lorry driver and when an issue with the vehicle caused it to blow up the explosion had "triggered his PTSD" from the attacks on him and left him with "severe anxiety" and he had to leave work.

The lawyer said the defendant had also suffered "significant tragedy" in his family.
On June 19 last year he had been "particularly low" and after being stopped by the police he panicked and had driven the short distance to his garden where he knew he had CCTV after he had been "overcome" by a need to get to his "own safe place".

At Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, District Judge Nigel Broderick said it was a "very poor piece of driving".

He told the defendant: "Police officers and other individuals had to jump out of your way. Had you struck them there could have been serious injuries or a fatality."

Hamilton was given a five months prison term, suspended for two years; banned from driving for two years and fined £100.