NewsCrime Desk

Orangeman granted bail after being accused of attempted murder of 2 people during riots

Bail: John Aughey
Bail: John Aughey

A prominent Orangeman has been granted bail after appearing in court accused of attempting to murder two people knocked down by a car during a riot in Belfast.

John Aughey, 61, was released on the condition he adhered to strict bail restrictions.

Teenager Phoebe Clawson, 16, was trapped under the vehicle after the incident at the Ardoyne in north Belfast on Monday night.

Police and nationalist residents moved swiftly to lift it off her.

She is in a stable condition in hospital having suffered multiple broken bones.

Aughey, from Brae Hill in north Belfast, is charged with her attempted murder and faces the same count in relation to another pedestrian allegedly struck by his vehicle.

He appeared at Belfast Magistrates Court this morning.

The incident unfolded during a loyalist riot at a sectarian interface between the nationalist Ardoyne area and the unionist Woodvale.

Aughey's solicitor said his client "profoundly regretted" what had happened. "This is a matter which is highly regrettable and is profoundly regretted by the defendant," he said.

However, the lawyer questioned the appropriateness of the charges, claiming the alleged offences were of a dangerous driving nature, not attempted murder.

Aughey, dressed in a black and white polo shirt, spoke only to confirm he understood the charges during the low key hearing. Around a dozen family and friends of the accused watched on from the public gallery as district judge Fiona Bagnall granted bail.