Sunday 13 October 2019

Garda awarded €975k after legs were crushed by driver of stolen car

Gda Ciaran Murrihy attended court in a wheelchair in 2016. Photo: Collins
Gda Ciaran Murrihy attended court in a wheelchair in 2016. Photo: Collins

A garda whose legs were repeatedly crushed by the driver of a stolen car has been awarded €975,000 in compensation by the High Court.

Gda Ciaran Murrihy, of Macetown, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath, was on duty with three other officers when he was deliberately crushed between a stolen car and a garda vehicle, breaking his legs.

The driver of the stolen car, Patrick McDonagh, who was then aged 26, of Bath Road, Balbriggan, later pleaded guilty to having caused serious harm to Gda Murrihy and was jailed for seven years on February 5, 2016.

Barrister Conor E Byrne, at the High Court compensation hearing yesterday, told Mr Justice Michael Twomey that following a period of negotiations, the parties had agreed on a figure of compensation of €975,000 for Gda Murrihy.

Catherine Needham, for the State, confirmed that the settlement figure had been reached by consent.

Judge Twomey congratulated the parties on reaching agreement on compensation without a full hearing, which he said was always the preferable approach in such serious cases.

Gda Murrihy, with Gda Lucy Wood, who was also injured in the incident, had been on duty in Clonuske Rise, Hamlet Lane, Balbriggan, in August 2015 when they noticed a stolen Citroen Xsara car that had been taken in a burglary earlier that day.

A criminal court hearing was told later that the two gardai approached the vehicle and, after the occupants identified themselves, McDonagh threw the car into reverse gear, trailing the two gardai with him and crushing Gda Murrihy's legs when he struck the garda car.


The court had heard Gda Murrihy had to roll away to avoid his legs being repeatedly run over.

Gda Wood attended the criminal court wearing a sling on her right arm to give evidence.

Gda Murrihy was in a wheelchair when he attended the criminal court in February 2016, and the court heard he was expected to be out of work for "a very long time".

In a victim impact statement to the criminal court, Gda Murrihy said he was haunted by the vision of McDonagh driving the stolen car directly at him.

As a result of his injuries, he had gone from being a proud garda and active father-of-two to feeling useless, he said.

"McDonagh stole my life from me and has left me with so little," he had said.

Before Judge Martin Nolan sent McDonagh to jail for seven years, the court heard he had continued to drive the Citroen over Gda Murrihy's legs after having jammed him against the garda squad car.

Judge Twomey approved the settlement, and on the application of Ms Needham directed the release of Gda Murrihy's medical files.

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