Derry father 'stole hearse and abducted girls'

Wed, 12/10/2011 - 19:50 -- Editor

A Derry father stole a hearse and then abducted his teenage daughter and her friend, the High Court in Belfast has heard.

Jonathon Ayton (36) of Bonds Hill, took the girls across the border in the hearse, driving at high speeds for up to 12 hours.

Mr Ayton is to be prosecuted for two counts of child abduction. He has also been charged with motoring offences – including taking the hearse – dangerous driving and having no insurance.

Mr Ayton was refused bail due to the risk of further offending and concerns he may not turn up for trial.

The High Court heard that the hearse was taken from outside a funeral director's in the city in September 2010.

Mr Justice Hart refused a bail application saying: “I'm entirely satisfied that if admitted to bail there is a very grave risk he would not turn up and would abscond.”