herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Garda crushed between a stolen car and patrol vehicle, court hears

Amy Guildea of Dun Saithne Road, Balbriggan. Charged with being a passenger in a stolen car.
Pic: Justin Farrelly.
Amy Guildea of Dun Saithne Road, Balbriggan. Charged with being a passenger in a stolen car. Pic: Justin Farrelly.
Garda Lucy Wood leaving the CCJ. Pic: Justin Farrelly.

A GARDA suffered serious injuries when he was crushed between a stolen car and a patrol vehicle as the driver tried to evade capture, a court has heard.

He then had to roll out of the way as the car drove towards him and crashed into a squad car.

The officer is recovering in hospital and facing a series of operations following the incident in north county Dublin at the weekend.

Dublin District Court was told he was one of four gardai injured, with two patrol cars extensively damaged.

The alleged driver, Patrick McDonagh (26) of Bath Road, Balbriggan was refused bail when he appeared in court charged with driving a stolen car and two counts of criminal damage.

A co-accused woman, Amy Guildea (26), a waitress from Dun Saithne Road, also in Balbriggan, is charged with being a passenger in a stolen car.

She was granted bail.

The offences are alleged to have happened at Clonusk Rise, Hamlet Lane in the town.

Garda Aidan O’Halloran said the defendants made no reply to the charges after caution.

Objecting to bail in Mr McDonagh's case, Garda O’Halloran cited the nature, degree and seriousness of the allegations.

Criminal damage charges carried a maximum potential sentence on conviction of 10 years in prison, while the other had a maximum possible five year term.

Another garda was allegedly assaulted during the arrest.

Garda Lucy Wood, whose right arm was in a sling, then gave evidence. She said the gardai responded to a report of a stolen red Citroen Xsara that had been taken in a burglary earlier that day.

They observed the car parked and exited their vehicle. Garda Wood was among three officers who approached it. She opened the driver’s door and Garda Ciaran Murrihy opened the passenger door.

Garda Wood said Mr McDonagh was in the driver’s seat and they identified themselves to him.

It was alleged he then put the car into reverse at speed and dragged two gardai away.

Garda Murrihy was trapped and the accused allegedly struck one patrol car.

Garda Murrihy was crushed between the Citroen and the patrol car, Garda Wood said.

Another garda was dragged along the ground and the Citroen again collided with the patrol car. This officer tried to pull the defendant out, it was alleged.

Garda Wood said she deployed her pepper spray but it “didn’t seem to have much effect.”

At this point, Garda Murrihy was on the ground and unable to get up due to his injuries.

It was alleged that Mr McDonagh drove towards the garda, who rolled over onto the footpath.

The accused allegedly struck the patrol car again.

When one of the gardai went to arrest him, he allegedly elbowed the officer twice in the face.

The court heard Garda Murrihy was “very seriously injured”.

He was expected to be out of work for a “very long time.”

Garda Wood said she had a hairline fracture on her wrist and two more of her colleagues were out sick.

The court heard further, more serious charges could be brought in Mr McDonagh’s case.

Applying for bail, Defence solicitor Grainne Whelan said Mr McDonagh at all times enjoyed a presumption of innocence. He was prepared to abide by any stringent bail conditions, including refraining from driving.

She said if refused bail, the defendant could face up to 18 months in custody waiting for the case to go to trial.

Mr McDonagh was a Traveller and was unemployed.

Judge Grainne O’Neill refused bail and remanded him in custody to appear in Cloverhill District Court on Friday.

Garda O’Halloran said Ms Guildea was arrested a short time after the incident.

He had no objection to bail in her case, subject to conditions. Ms Whelan said Ms Guildea was a single parent with one child and the father was deceased.

The charge against her was not as serious as those in her co-accused’s case. She had a defence open to her that she was unaware the vehicle was stolen at the time.

She found herself in a “very distressing and difficult situation.”

Judge O’Neill grated bail in Ms Guildea’s own bond of €200 on condition that she signs on three times per week at Balbriggan Garda Station.

She must stay out of the Clonusk and New Haven housing estates and must not associate with Mr McDonagh or his extended family.

She was remanded on bail to appear in Balbriggan District Court on October 22.

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