Mum panicked and drove car at officer during Customs ‘ambush’

first_imgAn Inishowen mum, who found herself in the middle of a Customs ‘ambush’ over non-payment of her VRT, has been fined for careless driving after she panicked and drove her car at a Revenue officer.Lorraine Bradley, 42, of The Glen, Garvey, Burnfoot, was charged with careless driving at Ballyderowen, Burnfoot, on May 15, 2015, when he appeared before a special sitting of Buncrana District Court. Another charge of assault was dismissed prior to the start of the case. Ms. Bradley admitted the charge of careless driving.Garda Inspector Barry Doyle told the court that Revenue Officials Officer Flynn and Officer McIntyre were on duty at Burnfoot when they saw a UK registered Ford Galaxy parked at the side of the road. Officer Flynn was familiar with the car and recognised the female driver as he had seen her waiting on the school bus on previous occasions, the court was told.Insp. Doyle said Officer McIntyre went to speak with Ms. Bradley about the VRT on her car. He said both officers were in full uniform.“She alleges that Ms. Bradley pushed passed her and tried to get into her car but Officer McIntyre prevented her. Officer Flynn then stood in front of the car to prevent her from pulling off,” outlined Insp. Doyle.“Officer McIntyre was standing holding Ms. Bradley’s car door open when she started the engine. She was asked to stop but instead moved forward on two occasions while the door was open. Officer Flynn was forced to move out of the way. There was a child in the back of the car.”The court heard that Gardaí were called and Ms. Bradley gave them a name of Lorraine Thompson with an address in Derry but the Garda believed that she was Lorraine Bradley of Garvey Burnfoot.“The Garda attempted to seize her car but she refused. She said she needed to take her child to the doctors and the Customs officers agreed to let her go,” added Insp. Doyle.“The Customs officers made official statements to Gardaí and Garda Canning called to Ms. Bradley’s house in September and took a recorded statement from her.“In her statement she said she was driving her two children to get the bus to school when her third child who was one and a half at the time was in the back seat. The next thing she knew she seen a woman running towards your car and opened the door – the woman kept shouting at her saying ‘you nearly took my arm off’,” read Insp. Doyle.Further more the statement read “I didn’t know who the woman was and I didn’t know what she was wearing. She just kept shouting at me and was really aggressive. Then a man jumped out of the same car she was in and stood in front to me. I told them that I needed to take my child to the doctors because she was sick but the female officer kept saying it was all my fault – I was in floods of tears and kept apologising.“I didn’t move my car forward but I might have panicked when she opened the car door as I didn’t know who she was.“In the panic I give them my maiden name and address but in hindsight I know I should have given them my present name and address.”Defence solicitor Frank Dorrian said his client didn’t know who the Customs officers were and felt like it was part of an ambush.He said the independent witness, the bus driver, said it was ‘like something you would see on TV’.“He said he never saw anything like it in his life,” said Mr. Dorrian. “He said the navy car, which the Customs officials were travelling in, came up behind him, then out of nowhere came up along his right hand side and cut him off. He said it was like something on the TV.”Reading directly from the bus driver’s statement, Mr. Dorrian said: “The car, which I now know to be a Customs car came to a halt in front of me, but before it fully stopped the female passenger jumped out and opened the door of Ms. Bradley’s car.“At this point I noticed the lapels on her uniform and realised that they were Customs Officers.”Mr. Dorrian said the bus driver said he believed that it was a very dramatic scene and Ms. Bradley felt the same.“My client got a fright and she panicked,” said Mr. Dorrian.“This whole incident lasted 30 or 40 seconds it looked like an ambush but it turns out it was completely lawful. Ms. Bradley apologised and has confessed, she has no ill will towards the Customs Officers. She was tearful and apparently moved her car forward – she didn’t drive off – there was no intent here at all.“She moved her car in the panic, it’s difficult to see where the crime is as there were no injuries and the car only moved a matter of inches.”Mr. Dorrian said his client was a mother of three children and worked as a classroom assistant, with no previous convictions. He said this incident would bring with it its own consequences.Judge Paul Kelly said people who live in border areas and drive foreign registered cars in Donegal should be well aware of the risks.“These cases come up repeatedly in court,” said Judge Kelly. “You must know you are quite likely to be stopped by the Customs or the Gardaí if you are driving one of these cars so you have to take the consequences that go with that.”Judge Kelly said Customs officers are just doing their duties when they are met with a lack of co-operation and people who feel that they are not entitled to enforce the law.“Their uniforms are clearly identifiable,” he added. “I accept there might have been a degree of panic but she [Mrs. Bradley] should not have attempted to drive off. If she had of engaged with a discussion with them the incident may have been resolved.”He fined her €400 for careless driving, while also noting that the Burnfoot woman did not produce her licence. He warned her that she could be liable to further prosecution by Gardaí for producing the licence.Mum panicked and drove car at officer during Customs ‘ambush’ was last modified: July 6th, 2017 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:ambushBurnfootcourtcustoms checkpointdonegalInishowenlast_img read more