Driver sped through three sets of traffic lights and crossed grass area at roundabout in bid to get away from police before being halted by ‘stinger’

The Ballycastle Road Roundabout in Coleraine. Picture: Google Maps.

A motorist tried to out-run police by blasting through three sets of red traffic lights and driving straight across a grass area at a roundabout during a roads rampage in Coleraine.

Billy Stirling then attempted to flee on foot across the grounds of the Ulster University after the vehicle’s tyres were burst by a police ‘stinger’ device.

Billy Stirling

 

The 19-year-old, whose address was given as Swilly Close in Portstewart, sped through three sets of ‘red’ traffic lights in the area of Coleraine’s Lodge Road Roundabout before driving straight across the central grass area at Ballycastle Road Roundabout during the early morning incident on February 20 this year.

The defendant admitted driving dangerously on roads between and including Dunhill Road and Cromore Road.

He also admitted the aggravated taking of a Ford Sierra; failing to stop for police at Coleraine’s Ring Road as well as insurance and licence offences.

He appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court via video link from Hydebank Prison.

A prosecutor said police received a report at 4.55am on February 20 that a vehicle had been taken without permission and when officers spotted it they put on lights and sirens but the driver failed to stop.

Stirling collided with a central reservation before heading in the direction of the two roundabouts.

After driving over a grass area at Ballycastle Road Roundabout police deployed a stinger and Stirling attempted to continue to drive at 15mph before he stopped at the university entrance and attempted to make off on foot.

A defence lawyer said Stirling had taken his cousin’s car and had already spent the equivalent of nine months on remand.

District Judge Liam McNally said it was a “very bad piece of driving” and said the case had warranted being sent to the Crown Court.

He said the defendant had not only put his own life at risk but those of anyone he may have met on the road.

As well as a four months prison term the defendant was banned from driving for 18 months and fined £200.

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