Suspected getaway driver was on cocaine when he crashed

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A suspected getaway driver was on cocaine when he crashed after a fish and chip shop robbery, the High Court heard today.

Stewart McAllister claims he was unaware two men with him in the car had allegedly just carried out a £1,000 raid on the fast food outlet in Londonderry’s Waterside.

Details emerged as the 22-year-old mounted a fresh bid to be released on bail.

McAllister, of Pelham Road in the city, faces charges of robbery, possession of an offensive weapon, assault on police, having Class A drugs, dangerous driving and other motoring offences.

His two co-accused allegedly entered the chip shop on Spencer Road last September, striking the counter with an iron bar in an attempt to intimidate staff.

They snatched the cash register, containing up to £1,000, before fleeing to a car waiting outside, the court heard.

Prosecution counsel claimed it took off at speed before colliding with another vehicle.

Police discovered the getaway car abandoned, with false number plates fitted and a quantity of cocaine inside.

McAllister later attended a PSNI station in the city, where he was said to have accepted owning the car.

“He claimed to be driving around on the day in question, taking cocaine and acting under its influence,” the prosecutor sad.

McAllister went on to say he picked up two men and waited for them outside the shop, unaware of any robbery plans.

Mr Justice Deeny was told he also spat at a police officer during interviews.

Defence counsel David Heraghty accepted his client has a history of “erratic behaviour and drug taking”.

But the barrister insisted: “He’s alleged to be the driver, he had no knowledge whatsoever of the robbery.”

The court was also told McAllister has mental health issues linked to past family tragedies.

He was also left with a fractured skull after being subjected to a serious attack by men in Londonderry in 2015, according to his lawyer.

Following submissions Mr Justice Deeny decided to adjourn the application until other, separate proceedings are completed.

The judge added: “I want to see some medical evidence of what this young man’s condition is.”