Disqualified driver said ‘voices in his head’ told him to get behind the wheel in the middle of the night and go to McDonald’s

McDonald's restaurant Ballymena
Already banned from the road for four years, Hill said the ‘voices in his head’ made him drive McDonald’s in Ballymena in the middle of the night.

An already disqualified driver who said he got back behind the wheel to go to McDonald’s in the middle of the night because “the voices in his head told him to” has been given a suspended jail term and banned from the road for five years.

Gary Ryan Hill (28), of Queen Street, Ballymena, drove a car to a McDonald’s restaurant at 2.45am on May 28 this year even though several weeks earlier he had been given a four year road ban.

A prosecutor said CCTV showed Hill and a co-defendant, who has already been sentenced, driving a Volkswagen Passat.

The prosecuting lawyer said the defendant said the car was bought on ‘Gumtree’ and Hill said he had driven it because “the voices in his head told him to”.

After hearing about the “voices”, District Judge Nigel Broderick asked if the defendant was fit to plead.

Defence barrister Michael Smyth said he was.

The defendant was in court on Thursday for sentencing on two charges of driving while disqualified and using a vehicle without insurance in connection with the offence at North Street, Ballymena.

Mr Smyth said the car wasn’t actually Hill’s but that the defendant had told police in interview it was in an “effort to protect” his co-accused, a man with a family.

Judge Broderick noted Hill had already spent five weeks in custody on remand which he said was the equivalent of just over a two months sentence.

“I don’t see any purpose being served by returning you to prison,” he told Hill as he suspended a five months jail term for two years.

The court was told Hill had been on a four year driving ban and the judge upped it to five years following the latest incident.

A previous court heard the defendant had over 80 convictions including around 50 for traffic offences.

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