Man in court in Derry after “a night of absolute mayhem”

Derry Court hi res

A 22-year-old Derry man has appeared in court charged with a total of 32 charges relating to alleged incidents in the Galliagh and Shantallow areas of the city earlier this week.

The charges against Christopher O’Reilly of Glenabbey Drive include possession of a firearm, attempted hijacking, aggravated burglary and theft, possession of a machete, making a threat to kill, aggravated vehicle taking and driving offences.

Derry Magistrate's Court heard about 'a night of absolute mayhem' which saw vehicles stolen, weapons produced, shots fired and a gun put to the head of a 12-year-old.

The comments came during a court appearance by Christopher O’Reilly (22) of Glenabbey Drive in Derry who faces a total of 32 charges relating to alleged incidents in the Galliagh and Shantallow areas of the city earlier this week.

The charges against O'Reilly include possession of a firearm, attempted hijacking, aggravated burglary and theft, possession of a machete, making a threat to kill, aggravated vehicle taking and driving offences.

A police officer told the court he believed he could connect O’Reilly to the charges.

The court heard that there were reports of two men being seen with ‘metal type objects’ on the afternoon of November 18 before going into 22-year-old O’Reilly’s flat.

A short time later a report was received that three men were fighting in the street later and one of these was allegedly identified as O’Reilly.

A woman who was said to have intervened in the fight was grabbed by the throat.

The officer said that an altercation was also alleged to have taken place inside O'Reilly's flat and he was seen lying on the stair case ‘high on drugs’.

As he was being helped inside his flat by a man it was alleged that another person inside the flat held a samurai sword to this man’s throat.

The court was told that police believed O’Reilly then left his flat with two others and they went in the direction of Amelia Court where it was claimed a house was attacked in this area and O’Reilly was also alleged to have produced a gun and handed it to another man.

Shortly after this a car was allegedly stolen from the Drumleck Gardens area.

The court also heard from the officer about an incident at the Galliagh Co-O where glass bottles were used to attack members of staff and the public. A car owned by a security guard was also allegedly damaged.

Following this it was claimed that the men broke into houses in Rossnagalliagh and the Galliagh Park areas.

The officer said that during the second break in it is believed a handgun was produced and the intruders demanded car keys from the occupant. A young child was in the property at the time.

The next incident occurred in the Rossnaglliagh area in which a handgun was reportedly used during an attempted hijacking. and the court heard allegations of further attempted hijacking in Earhart Park.

In another incident in Altcar Park a house was broken into and a gun was pointed at a woman’s head.

Her eight-year-old son was believed to be in the property at the time and the woman told police she ‘believed she was going to die’.

The police officer said that in an incident in the Ardnamoyle Park area a gun was pointed at the head of a 12-year-old boy prior to an attempted hijacking and a shot was fired after the car owner chased the alleged hijackers.

The court was told by the police officer that this was a ‘sustained attack on the community’.

The officer said that people were put in real fear for their lives and the firearm was used to ‘intimidate innocent members of the community’.

The investigating officer said it was hard to ‘differentiate’ between which of the three suspects is responsible for specific offences.

However, he told the court police believe O’Reilly is involved in most of the incidents.

Opposing bail, the investigating officer said police believe O’Reilly was among those responsible for a ‘sustained and unprovoked attack on the community. Extreme fear was caused and a firearm was used to intimidate members of the community’.

The officer said police believe the ‘safest place’ for the 22-year-old at the moment is in custody.

He added that police fear O’Reilly will commit further offences and will not adhere to bail conditions.

Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley said the allegations are of a ‘night of absolute mayhem and potential carnage’.

However, he said his client made the case during interview that he left the company of the other men ‘before the mayhem ensued’ and had provided an alibi.

Deputy District Judge Oonagh Mullan refused bail for fear of further offences and fear of interference with witnesses.

O’Reilly will appear in court again via videolink on December 11.