An Orangeman who drove his car into a crowd of protesting nationalists over a banned loyalist parade hit them “like skittles’’, it was claimed yesterday.
John Alexander Aughey (63), from Brae Hill Park, Belfast, denies six charges, including causing grievous bodily injury to 16-year-old Phoebe Clawson on July 13.
The first person to be struck by the car, Roisin McGlone, told Belfast Crown Court that she “had a fear” it could have turned into a similar incident to what happened to two Army corporals who were abducted and killed by the IRA in March 1998.
Mrs McGlone, an independent member of the policing board, told the jury she saw that the driver of a red Nissan had a “red and blue embroidery on his shirt” and believed he was either a bandsman or a member of the Orange Order.
“This was a very volatile situation. My immediate thought was for the driver. I noticed one of the crowd move slightly forward towards the right side of the car. I moved very quickly and put my hands up.’’
Asked by prosecution counsel Neil Connor QC, the mediation worker said she shouted at the crowds: “Don’t do this. Move back.”
She said she then noticed a “River Rock plastic water bottle being thrown from the back of the crowd and flying through the air”.
“I noticed a very young boy, about 15, kick the driver’s wheel. And that’s when I moved forward and said: ‘Right. Time to move in here’.
“I moved right in front of the people and put my hands out. At this point I was focused on the crowd, not the car. Then I just got him from behind.
“I was the first person that the car hit. It came right behind me and took me off my feet and I banged down on the ground. Two members of the crowd grabbed me underneath my arms.
“I looked to my left and I just saw the car going down the road like skittles.”
Under cross examination, Mrs McGlone was asked if she had concerns for the driver. “As a human being, of course it did occur to me. My concern was that he was exposed because of what he was wearing.’’
She confirmed she had had a “deep feeling of fear’’recalling the murders of corporals Derek Wood and David Howes,