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28/10/2021

Court hears defendant threw himself off Derry bridge after crashing car

Craigavon Bridge

Derry Magistrate’s Court has heard that a man threw himself off the Craigavon Bridge after crashing his car into a traffic island while under the influence of alcohol.

Aaron Bradley, 24, pleaded guilty to charges of driving with excess alcohol in his breath, obstructing police, failing to provide a specimen of blood and using a vehicle without insurance.

The offences arose after the defendant crashed his car on the Craigavon Bridge on March 9 of this year.

Police arrived on the scene and noticed a male walking along Duke Street.

When approached he ran off towards the Craigavon Bridge and ‘threw himself over railings to the ground 20 feet below’, a Public Prosecution Service (PPS) representative told the court.

Officers noticed that he smelled of ‘intoxicating liquor’.

When searched a BMW key was found.  It was discovered that the BMW 3 series was registered to the defendant and he was subsequently arrested.

The court heard that Bradley crashed into a traffic island causing a car tyre to come off.

At Strand Road Police Station he refused to provide a sample of blood, the PPS representative said.

Representing Bradley, a defence solicitor said the 24-year-old ‘didn’t cover himself in glory’.

“He’s very lucky having thrown himself 20 feet off the side of the Craigavon Bridge he didn’t do himself more serious damage,” the defence solicitor added.

Bradley, of Nursery Road, Tunbridge Wells in Kent, has no relevant record, the solicitor said, and is a man who has been working in England.

The lawyer explained that the defendant was invited to a party in Derry with some old friends but ‘hadn’t planned to stay or drink’.

When arrested by police the defendant was twice the legal limit, the court was told.

His solicitor added: “He hit a traffic island, completely panicked and threw himself off the edge of a bridge.

“He’s fortunate not to have sustained any permanent injuries and is now back working in England.”

District Judge Barney McElholm handed the defendant a £550 fine and disqualified him from driving for a period of 15 months and until tested.

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