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Armagh man allegedly sped through red lights in Portadown town centre at ‘over 100mph’

The 64-year-old - who admitted a number of offences - was jailed for four months

A man who drove at speed through red lights in Portadown town centre has been jailed.

Alan James Johnston, of Portadown Road, Armagh, appeared before Craigavon Magistrates’ Court, via videolink from Maghaberry.

The 64-year-old was charged with driving whilst disqualified, using a motor vehicle without insurance, breach of traffic signs, fraudulent use of a vehicle registration and driving without due care and attention.

The court heard that in the early hours of September 2 last year, police observed the defendant putting his shopping into the boot of a Suzuki Swift in the forecourt of the Spar petrol station on Bridge Street in Portadown, before getting into car.

Police enquiries noted that the vehicle was insured to a female.

Police observed the vehicle exiting the forecourt, pulling onto Bridge Street at a “very high speed” and speeding off in the direction of Portadown town centre. The driver of the vehicle was a male and the sole occupant of the vehicle.

Police were travelling behind the vehicle when it began speeding through Portadown town centre at speeds “estimated to be above 100mph”. The vehicle failed to stop for several red lights and due to the speed it was travelling police lost sight at Meadow Lane.

Later, police observed a Suzuki Swift travelling on the Dobbin Road, Armagh, before turning into Derryhale Road. As police turned onto the road, they observed the vehicle parked on the side of the road behind an HGV. They then observed a male exit the vehicle and run in the direction of the Dobbin Road.

Police then ran after the man and he was subsequently detained and identified as the defendant. Keys for the Suzuki Swift were located lying on the ground and police noted that the same shopping bag was in the boot of the vehicle.

Enquires showed that the vehicle did not have any insurance and that the defendant was a disqualified driver. He provided a no comment interview.

David McKeown BL, defending, said that the allegation of the defendant driving at over 100mph “wasn’t substantiated” in the papers, and as a result a charge of dangerous driving was dismissed and replaced with careless driving.

District Judge Bernie Kelly noted that the defendant has a “very poor record” for this type of offending.

The defendant was sentenced to four months in custody, disqualified from driving for three years and fined £600.

District Judge Kelly imposed a forthwith warrant for the fines for a period of seven days, to run concurrently with the four months.

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