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Man accused of hijacking and kidnapping motorist to face Crown Court

A previous bail application heard how police received a report of the hijacking of a van in the Ardress area with the alleged injured party still inside

Armagh Courthouse

A man facing a litany of charges, including two of hijacking and kidnapping, will face Crown Court proceedings later this year.

The 45-year-old appeared at Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday for the purposes of a preliminary enquiry (PE), the legal process during which a case is referred to the higher court.

Leo Patrick Larkin, with an address in Wick Road, Bristol, is charged with hijacking, kidnapping, two counts of threats to kill, aggravated vehicle taking and driving dangerously and resisting police.

At a previous bail application, a constable outlined that on October 4, at 6.30pm, police received a report of the hijacking of a Citroen Berlingo van in the Ardress area, with the alleged injured party still in the vehicle.

Officers later stopped the vehicle and the alleged hijacker was identified as the defendant. According to the constable, Larkin refused to comply with police instructions and made off into a field.

An on-foot pursuit occurred with the defendant being struck once with a baton before CS spray was used in order for him to be detained.

The constable outlined how the alleged injured party had made both a verbal account of the incident on bodycam footage, as well as a written statement.

At 7.24pm, Larkin was arrested and a breath test was later conducted, which gave a reading of 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

The alleged injured party claimed that he had stopped his vehicle in Ardress after spotting some clothes on the road, which he thought could have been a person.

He stated that the defendant had approached his van on the driver side and he rolled down his window to speak with the man.

It is further alleged that Larkin then demanded that he give him a lift to Armagh, stating that he had a knife on him.

Court then heard that the alleged injured party claimed to have told the defendant that he was going in the opposite direction but offered to return and give him a lift.

Larkin is then alleged to have grabbed the keys from the ignition, before getting in the passenger side of the van, and once more demanded a lift.

During the drive, the alleged injured party claimed the pair had discussions regarding the recent burial of the defendant’s father.

He alleged that Larkin also made comments that he was going to kill his wife.

The constable stated that at one point, the alleged injured party jumped out of the vehicle and ran to a nearby address which, the court heard, was corroborated by another witness.

The constable outlined that Larkin had placed a £50 note on the dashboard of the van, but according to the alleged injured party, he later took this back.

He claimed that he was fearful for his own safety, for that of other road users, as well as the defendant’s wife.

On Tuesday, appearing in court, the defendant made no objection to the holding of a preliminary enquiry.

Prosecution submitted that based on the papers before the court there was a prima facie case to answer.

Defence barrister Semaus Lannon made no contrary submissions.

Deputy District Judge Peter Prenter was satisfied there was a prima facie case to answer and Larkin was released on continuing bail to appear before Newry Crown Court on September 7 for arraignment.

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