Woman was putting away shopping in Newtownards and when she returned to vehicle an unknown man was in the driver's seat

Woman was putting away shopping in Newtownards and when she returned to vehicle an unknown man was in the driver's seat

A WOMAN in the process of putting away shopping in Newtownards returned to her car and discovered an unknown man sitting in the driver's seat searching through a glovebox.

Details emerged at Newtownards Magistrates Court where Alex Orr (24), of Ballygowan Road, Castlereagh, admitted charges of interference of a vehicle at North Street and assaulting the woman who was struck by the defendant at 10pm on September 27 last year.

The defendant appeared at court via a video link from prison.

Charges of having a 'ceramic object' as an offensive weapon and attempted theft of a coat and cd holder were withdrawn by a prosecutor.

A prosecutor told the court the woman had left the vehicle "unattended" whilst she was taking shopping in.

She returned and saw a male in the driver seat searching through the glovebox.

The woman knocked on the window and "challenged" the man who then exited; pushing her; and he "swung an unknown object at her which caused a small cut to her arm".

The man dropped something on the ground which smashed as he was getting out.

The woman gave a description to police and officers spotted Orr nearby.

A defence lawyer said the defendant had a "poor record" and following the Newtownards incident a prison release licence had been revoked and he had been in custody since last autumn but is due for release this summer.

He "suffered from addiction, homeless, poor mental health".

Jailing Orr for four months, District Judge Mark Hamill said: "This really had the makings of a lot more serious quasi-hijacking".