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Man allegedly drove at speeds of 90mph during police pursuit before smashing through security barrier at Belfast International Airport

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A MAN who allegedly drove at speeds of up up 90mph in a stolen car and smashed through a security barrier at Belfast International Airport before being halted by a police ‘stinger’ has been refused bail at court.

Padraig Stilges (22), whose address was given as Glenavy Parade, Glenavy, Crumlin, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday.

He is charged with offences relating to January 3 including the aggravated taking of and causing damage to a Citroen C3 and dangerous driving.

He is also accused of driving whilst disqualified; failing to stop for police and causing criminal damage to a security barrier.

Opposing bail a police officer said a vehicle was stolen in Ballymena after it was left with its engine running whilst the owner was doing a “short message”.

A short time later police spotted the vehicle and when they activated blue lights in the Oriel Road area of Antrim town the vehicle increased speed before making dangerous overtaking manoeuvres and driving “over the top” of roundabouts at speeds in excess of 90mph.

The car approached the long-stay car park at Belfast International Airport and crashed through a barrier before being ‘stung’ by police at nearby Ballyrobin Road.

She said there was another person in the vehicle but it was established Stilges had been driving.

The police officer said Stilges is currently managed by the Reducing Offending Unit in Belfast.

The officer said police believe the defendant poses a “serious risk of harm to others” and has “significant issues with drugs”.

Bail had been breached on 12 occasions since February last year, the officer said.

A defence lawyer said Stilges had been shot in the legs and an ankle in a “paramilitary punishment shooting” which led to an addiction to painkillers.

The lawyer said the defendant had been recently released from prison and had tried to seek counselling.

The solicitor said his instructions were that Stilges had not consumed any drugs since getting out of custody.

District Judge Peter King said the “striking” allegation was that there was a police pursuit through a residential area of Antrim followed by a manoeuvre at the airport which required officers to deploy a stinger.

He said police believed there was a real risk of reoffending and the defendant had 23 previous convictions.

The judge said either Stilges or someone else could have been killed during the incident and he refused bail.

The defendant was remanded in custody to appear at Antrim Magistrates Court on January 21.

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