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Tandragee woman crashed car then lied to her mother and said it had been stolen

Court was told her actions were 'motivated to avoid her mother’s wrath'

Court drink driving Craigavon

A Tandragee woman who made a false report regarding the theft of a car to “avoid her mother’s wrath” has been sentenced to 200 hours of community service.

Court heard the 23-year-old crashed the vehicle which belonged to her mother whilst on her way to come to the aid of her great grandfather.

Sacha Armstrong, of Wayside, pleaded guilty to wasting police time, driving without due care or attention and failing to report an accident at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Court heard that on August 5, police received reports of a suspicious vehicle on the Ballyhannon Road which had hit a telephone post and went through a hedge.

At 4.03am officers arrived at the scene to find a Ford Focus in a hedge with both airbags deployed.

Police contacted the registered owner of the car who told them her daughter – the defendant – had informed her the keys to the vehicle had been stolen.

The car was seized for further analysis and instigation by the police.

At around 4pm, police were contacted by Armstrong’s mother who informed them that the defendant had taken the car and crashed it.

She had received a call from her great grandfather, for whom she was a full-time carer, stating he had fallen out of bed.

The defendant had taken the car in order to come to his aid.

Armstrong was cautioned at Lurgan police station and during interview made admissions to making the false report.

District Judge Stephen Keown stated: “She is very lucky that this is not in the Crown Court.”

Defence counsel said: “At the time she was the carer for her great grandfather, who has since passed away. On the evening in question she received a distressing call from him.

“She took the car to get to his home. After the accident she proceeded to that address.

“She made the false report to her mother; this was motivated to avoid her mother’s wrath.

“She accepts that this was foolish and recognises the seriousness of the offence. The only positive is that police were informed that same day.”

Court heard that Armstrong had one previous entry on her record for driving with excess alcohol.

The defendant was handed five penalty points and sentenced to 200 hours of community service.

In addition, Armstrong was ordered to pay a fine of £200, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 20 weeks.

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