Ex-drugs mule Michaella McCollum's wheelie bin torched outside her home as man appears in court | The Sun

COPS were called after a man allegedly torched a wheelie bin owned by former drugs mule Michaella McCollum.

The one-time jailbird, nabbed for her part in a €2million cocaine smuggling operation, complained a man was acting suspiciously outside her home.

Cops in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, arrested Martin Joseph Groogan, 40, who was later charged with assaulting a different woman and damaging her car on January 28.

And he was charged with setting fire to Ms McCollum’s bin, resisting arrest and attempted damage to a PSNI vehicle. 

A separate charge alleges Groogan caused fire damage to a door and stairway belonging to Clanmil Housing Association in November last year.

A police constable told Dungannon Magistrates Court she went to the scene in the Cloneen area after a call was made about the bin being torched.

That bin was owned by mum-of-two Ms McCollum, 28, who served three years in Peruvian prisons for her part in the cocaine smuggling operation.

A separate call was made soon after citing a disturbance in a nearby housing development, the court heard.

Police allegedly found Groogan hiding behind a fence.

The court was told that he became aggressive and shouted "F***ing rats. What are you arresting me for?

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F***ing scumbags,” as police tried to put him in a car.

It’s alleged Groogan, who was said in court to have more than 100 previous convictions, kicked out and banged his head off the vehicle repeatedly while inside.

The hearing was told that the accused’s ex-partner, who is not McCollum, had ended their relationship and contacted police when he arrived at her home.

The policewoman said: "The ex-partner remains scared of him and hasn't made a statement as she is aware of his domestic violence background.”

A lawyer for Groogan said his client acknowledges he reacted “badly” when police attempted to arrest him.

He has denied setting fire to the bin and the charge relating to property damage by fire last year.

He said his client would comply with any bail conditions.

District Judge Alana McSorley refused bail and ordered Groogan, of Gortin Crescent, Dungannon, to reappear by video-link at the town's Magistrates Court later this month.

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Michaella McCollum was 19 when she and Scottish woman Melissa Reid – dubbed the Peru Two – were caught at Peru’s Jorge Chávez International Airport with 11kg of cocaine in their suitcases.

The drugs, hidden in food packets, were worth almost €2million.

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