18 Aug 2022

Judge describes incident where Derry man escaped from police custody by climbing out of toilet window as 'outrageous'

A 21-year-old Derry man who attended the police station by arrangement later escaped from custody by climbing out a toilet window. Nathan Canning, of Earhart Park in Derry, appeared at Derry Magistrates Court charged with escaping from lawful custody on September 6. He also faced two charges of breaching a restraining order and one count of criminal damage to a window on August 24. A police officer connected Canning to the charges and opposed bail. He told the court that Canning's ex-partner received a call from him while he was imprisoned in Hydebank in breach of a restraining order. On his release from prison, Canning was said to have appeared at the woman's home and despite being told he was not allowed there persisted. He then became angry and punched a window, breaking a pane of glass. The officer told the court Canning reported to police voluntarily and admitted the offences on September 6. While in police custody a medical officer advised that Canning should be taken to hospital for treatment. The court heard that the defendant asked to go to the toilet and police removed handcuffs to facilitate this. He then entered the toilet while police waited outside. Canning was then alleged to have climbed out a window and made off. Police pursued him and deployed a helicopter in the chase, recapturing the defendant shortly afterwards. The officer opposed bail as he said the defendant did not seem to see the ‘seriousness of the situation’. “If we can't trust him to go to the toilet how can we trust him to abide by bail?” the officer added. Defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott conceded that it was 'a difficult case even before the escape'. He said Canning had been told he would face a 28-day charge, but once he was placed in custody 'he imploded.' District Judge Barney McElholm said that he could not trust Canning and that it had been made clear to him that if he breached the restraining order he would go to prison. The judge said the alleged victims had the right to live their lives free from fear from Canning. Describing the case as ‘outrageous’, Judge McElholm added: “This man needs to settle down and realise this sort of behaviour is not going to be tolerated.” He refused bail and remanded Canning in custody to appear again on October 4.

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