McDonald’s CCTV footage helps nab Moneymore driver caught up in drugs and intimidation

CCTV camera
CCTV camera

A trip to a McDonald’s drive-though proved the downfall for a motorist who later fled the scene of a car collision in Moneymore.

The trail of damning evidence also included a number plate which had fallen from the vehicle driven by 27 year-old Jamie McConnell, a set of house keys, a car seat and clothing.

On Wednesday, the Lisburn man appeared at Dungannon Magistrate’s court on charges of driving without due care and attention, and three charges linked to leaving the scene of an accident.

The court heard how on August 29, 2013, police were tasked to the scene of a collision in Moneymore village at which an intact front bumper, complete with car number plate, had been left behind.

A mile further along the road, police came across a burning car. Nearby they found a set of house and car keys belonging to the defendant, who is from Huguenot Drive, as well as two bars of cannabis resin.

When police entered the defendant’s house, he initially denied driving the car, even though he identified property belonging to him from the burning vehicle, including a car seat and clothing.

When police obtained CCTV footage from a McDonald’s in Lisburn showing him behind the wheel of the vehicle, he claimed that a lot of people looked like him.

The defence solicitor told the court that McConnell had learning difficulties and mental health problems, and that the collision was wrapped in a larger story involving drugs and intimidation.

According to the solicitor, McConnell had been forced to drive the car by an unknown male, and had no knowledge that there might have been drugs in the car.

The solicitor went on to say that McConnell had not broken the law since the time of the offences, two years ago. He added that McConnell had been subsequently hospitalised after a paramilitary attack during which both his ankles were broken.

Judge John Meehan ordered pre-sentence reports for the defendant, who will next appear at Dungannon Magistrate’s Court on September 30.