A LIMAVADY man who admitted dangerous driving and falsely imprisoning a nine-year-old boy in his car has been jailed for 21 months.
Ryan McGlinchey, (26), whose address was given on court papers as c/o Maghaberry, pleaded guilty to two charges of dangerous driving, false imprisonment and no insurance relating to an incident on March 25, last year.
The 26-year-old was also ordered to spend a further 18 months on probation and was banned from driving for four years.
Londonderry Crown Court heard that McGlinchey had been with the nine-year-old boy and had played football with him in the past.
However, some weeks before the incident the boy's mother had asked McGlinchey to have no further contact with her son.
Prosecuting counsel told the court the nine-year-old's parents were attending a funeral when McGlinchey approached him, ignoring their request.
McGlinchey took the boy for tea and ice cream and then invited him into a car so they could go and visit some friends.
The alarm had been raised by the nine-year-old's family and the police were also looking for McGlinchey in relation to other offences. When officers saw the car a chase ensued.
The court was told that McGlinchey tried to avoid the police, began driving at an excessive speed and overtaking other cars. During the chase he hit and slightly damaged another car.
The nine-year-old was "extremely frightened, told him to stop, let him out and take him home," the prosecutor said, adding that the boy began kicking at the gear stick.
When police noticed there was a child in the car they broke off the chase.
The car was spotted by another police patrol on the Carrowclare Road and officers set up a road block in an attempt to stop McGlinchey.
He ignored the road block and drove onto a verge, narrowly missing a female police officer who drew her weapon.
The child saw the weapon and was clearly frightened by it.
McGlinchey lost control of the car a short time later, went into a ditch and was arrested.
The prosecutor revealed the boy had no long term problems as a result of the incident and despite being quite scared for a few weeks returned to being a "quite sparky, perky boy."
A defence QC conceded that McGlinchey had a substantial and bad record. He told the court the 26-year-old is a drug abuser and has a history of dishonesty to feed his habit.
The lawyer added that the false imprisonment was not the usual case seen by the court but was an aggravated feature of the dangerous driving.
Handing down the custody probation order, Judge Desmond Marrinan said that the incident was a "terrifying ordeal" for the nine-year-old to have to encounter. He said it was a "bad case of dangerous driving," adding that it was "irresponsible behaviour you indulged in on this day."
"Choosing to drive in such a way when you had a child beside you who was terrified is an exacerbating factor. You claim to have a fondness for this child … If you had a proper fondness for him it is unbelievable that you would behave in such a way simply to avoid detection by the police, which was inevitable."
The judge said a custody probation order was essential to "put some focus into your life and to ensure for society generally that every effort is made to deflect you from what will turn out to be a lifetime of criminality."
He added that McGlinchey was "still young enough to turn your life around and become a productive member of society."