Sunday 23 October 2016

Garda car rammed by suspects during high-speed pursuit

Emma Jane Hade and Paddy Clancy

Published 09/11/2015 | 02:30

Ivan Crawford, who has been remanded in custody
Ivan Crawford, who has been remanded in custody

A garda car was rammed during a high-speed chase as it pursued a group of men who allegedly robbed a petrol station.

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Gavin Harte (21) and Ivan Crawford (24) appeared before a special sitting of Sligo District Court yesterday in connection with Saturday afternoon's robbery. They were also accused of "recklessly damaging property".

The court heard yesterday that the pair entered Killybegs Service Station in Co Donegal shortly before 5pm on Saturday, armed with iron bars.

Judge Kevin Kilrane was told that the two men, who were accompanied by another man, robbed €400 cash from shop owner Gabriel Breslin.

They caused substantial ­damage to the shop, smashing a fridge freezer, a coffee machine and a display stand in the shop, the court was told.

Mr Harte and Mr ­Crawford, who have addresses in ­Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, then fled the scene of the crime and drove towards Donegal town at high speeds in a Ford Focus.

The chase eventually ended in The Diamond area of ­Donegal town. Several ­garda ­vehicles were involved in the pursuit which covered a ­distance of almost 30km.

Gardaí confirmed the car driven by the suspects rammed into an unmarked vehicle from the garda traffic unit. Two of the men were arrested as they attempted to escape while the third currently remains at large.

Mr Harte and Mr Crawford were both refused bail and were remanded in custody in Castlerea Prison to appear before Harristown District Court on Friday.

Supt Kevin English told the court that the suspects had used an "offensive weapon" during the raid and that he opposed bail as they led the force on a pursuit and caused criminal damage.

The PSNI confirmed it is ­carrying out a number of ­inquires as part of the search for the third suspect. No arrests have yet been made.

Donegal town councillor Tom Conaghan, who lives close to where the pursuit ended, said it was "a miracle" nobody was injured.

Meanwhile, an heroic ­off-duty garda apprehended a ­hammer-wielding robber who held up a pharmacy before escaping with a bag of cash in Dublin.

The garda was on his way to work in Store Street station on Saturday morning when he witnessed a man in his 40s fleeing the scene of the robbery at Tracey's Pharmacy on Eden Quay. The garda followed the suspect on foot and arrested him. The man is due to appear in court this morning.

Irish Independent

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