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Crazed man who went on rampage with horse lorry charged over assault on garda

Duane Farry was jailed for rampaging in a stolen horse truck just weeks after he was released on bail for allegedly ramming a Garda car twice

Duane Farry (32) is due in court in Donegal

Steven Moore

This is the crazed lunatic jailed for going on a rampage in a stolen horse truck just weeks after he was released on bail for allegedly ramming a Garda car twice.

Duane Farry was jailed this week for nine months after a shocking incident which saw him steal the Scania horse lorry and smash it through two steel gates and running amok through Fintona in Co Tyrone.

But the 32-year-old, who was so smashed he couldn't remember the incident at all, was released after it emerged he'd already spent his sentence on remand at Maghaberry Prison.

Now we can reveal he's facing another potential jail sentence in the Republic of Ireland if convicted of a string of serious charges relating to an incident on January 24 last year.

He's due in court across the border in Co Donegal where he's due to stand trial for ramming a Garda vehicle and later dislocating the finger of a Garda officer who tried to arrest him as he fled through a field.

We understand a bench warrant has now been issued at Donegal Circuit Court who are anxious Farry returns to the Republic to answer the charges.

Farry, with an address in Ashfield Gardens, Fintona, went on the driving rampage with a horsebox lorry, smashing through gates and flattened railings last summer.

Duane Farry after his arrest in Donegal last year

This week he appeared before Omagh Magistrates Court by videolink from Maghaberry jail where he has been in custody since the incident on July 18 last year.

He was sentenced to nine months in jail and disqualified from driving for three years but District Judge Peter Prenter suggested that he has already served the jail term on remand.

Farry was convicted of dangerous driving, aggravated taking and driving away, and damaging a Scania Box Van, driving without insurance, damaging gates and a fence and failing to remain at the scene of an accident.

The thug entered Ecclesville Equestrian Centre, got into the horse lorry and then drove it away, smashing through two heavy steel locked gates, severely damaging them to such an extent they could not be repaired, the court was told.

Police were alerted and saw the horse lorry being driven at speed along Church Street in the centre of Fintona then turn left into Castletown Square before proceeding to crash into a set of railings with such force they were flattened.

Farry is no stranger to the courts and previously served a two-year disqualification for dangerous driving and has 63 previous convictions, 23 of which are for motoring offences.

He was also convicted of having caused significant damage to the horsebox and vehicle. He then made off on foot but was arrested.

Defence barrister Joe McCann said his client had served 21 weeks in custody, the equivalent of a 42-week sentence.

He added that Farry could not remember anything about the episode. He also suggested there were 'triable' issues in the case as the defendant was not necessarily caught red-handed.

Mr McCann said: "We are not saying a contest would have been successful, but he has been pragmatic (in pleading guilty)."

Asking the court not to impose a "draconian" driving ban, defence counsel said Farry would not be able to make good the damage he accused but it is believed they were insured.

District Judge Peter Prenter described the offending as "serious" and a "reckless piece of driving."

Last January, five months before his horsebox escapade, Farry was arrested in Co Donegal.

He's accused of ramming a Garda patrol car twice in a high- speed chase in south Donegal and was returned for circuit court trial.

He is facing charges of causing criminal damage to a Garda car at Birchill, Donegal town, on January 24 last year.

He is also charged with assaulting Detective Garda Paul McHugh, causing him harm on the same date at Rossmore, Donegal town.

As well as the Birchill and Rossmore charges, Farry is charged with driving a vehicle in a manner which created a substantial risk of death or serious injury to another at Keeldrums, Drumlonagher and Tullyearl, all in Donegal town, on the same date.

Detective Sergeant Mattie Murphy gave evidence of serving the book of evidence on the defendant at Donegal Town District Court last May, and Farry was returned for trial to the next sitting of the court which was due to be December 7.

However, on that date Farry was in Maghaberry Prison awaiting his sentencing for the horsebox rampage.

Part of his bail conditions set by the Donegal judge, which included a €4,000 cash surety, was that he could not sit in the driving seat of a vehicle either stationary or moving.

At a previous hearing Garda Doherty told the court that he was on mobile patrol in Donegal town when he got a report from Detective Garda Paul McHugh and Garda Katherine Henry that a vehicle was acting suspiciously at Drumlonagher Junction.

It failed to stop when signalled to do so.

Farry in custody in Donegal

The vehicle pulled up alongside that of Detective McHugh and rammed the patrol car and took off for Ballyshannon, the court heard.

Garda Doherty told the court he was waiting on both vehicles at Tullyearl Junction on the other side of Donegal town.

"I saw it coming towards me followed by Detective Garda McHugh."

The driver drove around the roundabout the wrong way and he rammed Detective Garda McHugh's car again, the court heard.

The defendant lost control of the car, coming to a sudden stop and the defendant took off running over fields.

When apprehended, he assaulted Detective Garda McHugh, causing his finger to be dislocated, the court heard.

The defendant was allegedly very aggressive, and it took four gardaí to deal with the defendant as he was brought to Ballyshannon Garda Station.


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