A father of one who hijacked a car from a “vulnerable” community worker in west Belfast was on Friday handed a three-year sentence after appearing in the dock of the city’s Crown Court.
Saying the incident would have been a “terrifying experience” for the female motorist who was targeted, Judge Sandra Crawford told 33-year-old Jonathan Briers that he will serve 18 months of his sentence in prison, with the remainder spent on licence when he is released from custody.
Briers, from Cherryhill Road in Dundonald, was so drunk on the day in question that he has no recollection of his actions.
He did, however, admit four offences arising from the incident – including causing criminal damage to a police cell by smearing it with excrement.
The court heard that at around 4.30pm on December 4 last year, the female motorist in question had just locked up a community centre in the Glenbank area of the city and was getting into her car when she was approached by Briers, who grabbed her and told her to hand over her car keys.
The woman handed over keys to the community centre, as opposed to her car keys, then ran from the scene and sought assistance from a local shopkeeper.
She was able to summon assistance from a member of staff and a customer, and when she returned to her car with the two men, Briers was in the driver’s seat and trying to start the car with the wrong key.
The men managed to restrain Briers at the scene until police arrived.
He then refused to provide a preliminary breath test to officers, and whilst in custody he smeared excrement in a police cell.
A solicitor for Briers – who has 126 previous convictions – said that his client was “completely appalled” by what he did to the female motorist, and was also “ashamed and embarrassed” by his behaviour in the police station afterwards.
He also said that his client wished to offer a “full apology” to the motorist and the two men who came to her aid.