Orangeman found guilty of driving over teenage girl at Ardoyne parade

John Aughey the driver of a car which ran over a teenage girl on Crumlin Road, north Belfast
John Aughey the driver of a car which ran over a teenage girl on Crumlin Road, north Belfast

An Orangeman has been convicted of driving over a teenage girl after he drove into a crowd of nationalists protesting about a banned loyalist parade two years ago.

It took the Belfast Crown Court jury of eight women and four men almost three hours, during two days of deliberation, to reach their majority verdicts and convict 63-year-old John Alexander Aughey of the charges arising from the collision close to the Ardoyne shops on July 13, 2015.

Twice during their deliberations on Thursday the jury informed the court they could not reach unanimous verdicts, before delivering their majority 11 to one guilty verdicts on each of the six charges which Aughey from Brae Hill Park, had denied.

Among those charges, and the most serious, was causing grievous bodily harm to a then 16-year-old girl Phoebe Clawson by dangerously driving his car on Belfast’s Crumlin Road.

She was trapped under the wheels of his red Nissan Pulsar, fracturing to her pelvis, ankle and collarbone.

Jurors, some of whom gasped on being shown a video of the moment she was flung onto the bonnet, and under the car, heard she spent two weeks in hospital after undergoing a five-hour emergency operation on her “shattered pelvis”.

Following their verdicts trial Judge Patricia Smyth praised the jury for dealing with what she described as “probably being one of the most difficult trials that any jury in Northern Ireland has been asked to decide upon”.

Thanking them for their time and deliberation without “complaint”, she excused them from further jury service for life if they wanted.

Freeing Aughey on continuing bail until after the summer recess in August, Judge Smyth told him that should not be taken “as an indication of the sentence the court will pass in due course”.