Pair in Philippa Reynolds crash ‘had been taking drugs and drinking all day’

Shane Frane
Shane Frane
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The two men in the stolen car which killed Constable Philippa Reynolds last February had been drinking and taking drugs all day, Londonderry Crown Court heard yesterday.

Prosecution QC Terence Mooney told the court that the Toyota Landcruiser was driven at speeds of up to 80mph and went through two sets of lights before it collided with the unmarked armoured police car.

Constable Reynolds, who was in the back seat, was killed in the crash, which happened in the Dales Corner area of the Waterside on February 9 last year. She was 27 and from Crumlin in County Antrim.

Two other police officers in the car were injured.

Shane Christopher Frane, whose address was given on court papers as c/o Maghaberry, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Constable Reynolds.

Frane, 26, also admitted burglary, criminal damage and further driving offences, including driving whilst unfit.

His co-accused, 24-year-old Conor Tyrone Clarence, of Bonds Hill, admitted aggravated vehicle-taking causing death, burglary and criminal damage.

The court heard the men were on a “dangerous combination” of drink and prescription drugs on the night of the fatal collision. Frane had consumed 60 tablets.

Judge Philip Babington offered his condolences to the family circle of Constable Reynolds. Family members were in the court.

Mr Mooney told the court Frane and Clarence, after drinking and taking drugs all day, decided to steal a car to go to Limavady.

They attempted, unsuccessfully, to steal a Citroen Saxo and caused damage to it.

The men then broke into a house on Fountain Hill, stole keys to the Toyota and stole it.

After the crash, Frane and Clarence were arrested on the morning of February 9. During police interview, Clarence admitted he was a passenger in the stolen car but Frane denied all the allegations.

Frane requested a further interview at a later stage and made full admissions, claiming that his driving was “ridiculous”.

He told police: “I am very sorry for what I did to this officer. It wasn’t my intention to do it. I’m not into stealing cars and driving around like a lunatic. It’s not me. There is nothing I can say that is going to make it any better but I am sorry for what I did.”

Adjourning sentencing, Judge Babington said he would like some time to consider all the submissions.

Frane and Clarence were remanded in custody and will appear in court again on February 4.