Two charged with constable's death

Two men appeared in court today charged in connection with the death of PSNI constable Philippa Reynolds, who was killed in a car cash last weekend. Photograph: PSNI/PA Wire

Two men appeared in court today charged in connection with the death of PSNI constable Philippa Reynolds, who was killed in a car cash last weekend. Photograph: PSNI/PA Wire

Mon, Feb 11, 2013, 00:00

Two homeless men appeared in court in Derry today charged with a combined total of fourteen offences relating to the death of PSNI constable Philippa Reynolds.

Constable Reynolds (27) was killed when a stolen Toyota Landcruiser crashed into an unmarked police patrol car at Dale’s Corner in the Waterside area of the city early last Saturday morning.

Several senior officers and a dozen uniformed colleagues of constable Reynolds were in court for the remand hearing.

Neither of the defendants’ solicitors applied for bail and both defendants were remanded in custody until March 7th.

The defendants, both from the Simon Community Hostel in Bond’s Hill, Waterside, are Shane Christopher Frane (25) and Conor Tyrone Clarence (23).

At one stage during the remand hearing District Judge Barney McElholm intervened to order the defendant Mr Frane from speaking as the charges were read out by the court clerk.

Mr Frane faces ten charges, including causing constable Reynold’s death by dangerous driving, and driving while unfit due to alcohol or drugs.

He is also charged with burglary and theft of a set of car keys from a house in Fountain Hill, causing criminal damage to a second vehicle in Fountain Hill, driving without insurance and without a licence, failing to stop and remain at the scene of the accident and failing to report the accident.

He answered “yes” when asked if he understood the charges.

Mr Clarence is charged with aggravated vehicle taking causing the death of constable Reynolds, burglary and theft of a set of car keys from a house in Fountain Hill and with causing criminal damage to a second car in Fountain Hill.

He’s further charged with assisting an offender with intent to impede his apprehension or prosecution by changing clothing in an apparent attempt to disguise identity.

A detective constable told the court that he was aware of the facts and circumstances of the case and added that he believed he could connect both defendants to all the charges.

The police witness agreed with solicitor David Brewster that Mr Clarence has “given a full account of his role” and that the police believe he was a front seat passenger in the stolen Landcruiser.

“At this early opportunity my client wishes to express his apology for the role he had in this tragedy”, Mr Brewster said.

Remanding both defendants in custody until March 7th, the District Judge said “the court wishes to take this opportunity to express its condolences to Constable Reynold’s family and friends and colleagues in this senseless and needless loss of life”.