Belfast man who tried to rob taxi driver at gunpoint refused bail

The taxi driver pulled up behind a PSNI patrol car on Ormeau Avenue and shouted that his passenger had a gun. Credit: Google Maps

A man who allegedly tried to rob a Belfast taxi driver at gunpoint is to remain in custody, a judge ruled today. Stephen Dingwall was refused bail amid claims he also brandished the imitation firearm at police. The 36-year-old, of Lichfield Avenue in the city, was arrested following an incident in the early hours of November 17 last year.

Previous courts heard he allegedly flagged down a taxi on the Albertbridge Road, requested a lift to a nearby train station but then stated that he had no money. The driver agreed to charge no fare and drove him to the destination. It was claimed that Dingwall then produced a replica gun from his jacket and demanded all the victim’s cash, stating he wanted it to buy cigarettes. The taxi driver pulled up behind a PSNI patrol car on Ormeau Avenue and shouted that his passenger had a gun. Dingwall got out and fled towards Maryville Street with officers pursuing him on foot, according to the prosecution. At one stage he allegedly pointed the imitation weapon at a constable before being located in a nearby garden. Containment spray and limb restraints were used during his arrest.

Dingwall faces charges of attempted robbery and possessing an imitation handgun with intent to cause fear of violence. He is also accused of using a firearm to resist arrest and assault on police in connection with the incident. At Belfast Magistrates’ Court today a defence lawyer argued that he should now be released due to delays in dealing with the case. Opposing the application, an investigating detective cited the potential risk to the public. “This incident involved the defendant walking in a busy area of Belfast in the early hours of the morning, carrying an imitation firearm and subjecting a member of the public and police to that firearm,” the detective said. “He also refused to comply when asked to drop it.” Refusing bail, District Judge George Conner stated: “I’m not persuaded that the delay is (sufficient). Dingwall was remanded in continuing custody for a further four weeks.

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