Saturday 24 March 2018

DJ drove over cyclist in rage over girlfriend

AN expectant father has been sentenced to five years after he deliberately knocked a man off his bicycle and drove over him in "a fit of temper and thirst for vengeance".

Noel McGrath (27) was annoyed with Alan Culligan because he believed he had tried to kiss his girlfriend a few weeks previously in a nightclub. Mr Culligan said that the woman had in fact come on to him.

Garda Danielle Farragher told the court that Mr Culligan was cycling on Moreen Avenue in Sandyford when he spotted McGrath drive into the estate in his silver Renault Laguna. McGrath's then girlfriend was in the passenger seat.


McGrath drove past him but then turned his car and drove back towards Mr Culligan and up on to the footpath.

Mr Culligan cycled off the path to try to get away but McGrath followed and drove at him, knocking him off his bike.

He then drove over Mr Culligan who was lying in the road.

The victim later told gardai that he feared he was going to be killed before McGrath drove off out of the estate.

Gda Farragher said Mr Culligan was later treated in hospital for a dislocated pelvis and a fractured wrist. A medical report concluded that it would have taken three to four months for him to recover from his physical injuries.

McGrath, who has worked as a DJ, was arrested later that same day. A number of witnesses had alerted gardai and supplied the registration number of the vehicle.

McGrath told gardai during interview that the victim had sexually assaulted his girlfriend a number of weeks previously by trying to kiss her. He said his girlfriend had also just told him she could be pregnant and he just started "seeing red" when he spotted Mr Culligan.

"It was like tunnel vision. I just thought I'll get him no matter how I get him," McGrath told gardai before he claimed he did not intentionally run over the victim and he had only meant to nudge him off his bike.

"I wanted to show him he could not f*** with me and get away with it. I am not a doormat," McGrath said.

McGrath of Moreen Walk, Sandyford, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing Mr Culligan harm on March 31, 2011.

His defence counsel, Roughan Banim, said that although it turned out his girlfriend was not pregnant at the time, she is now due McGrath's baby in a few weeks but the couple are no longer together.

A psychiatric report before the court concluded that he has "low intellectual functioning" and has some difficulties in thinking through the consequences of his actions.

Judge Martin Nolan suspended the final three years of the sentence, taking into account McGrath's good record and co-operation with the gardai.

Judge Nolan said the injuries were "entirely foreseeable" and McGrath could have left his victim with more serious injuries or have killed him.

"The red mist descended upon him," the judge said, describing it as a serious assault carried out in "a fit of temper and thirst for vengeance".


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