herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Woman (23) tells trial of 'live or die' attack in woods

A 23-year-old woman has told a court that she was dragged from a car and had a handgun put to her head and asked did she want to live or die.

The woman also claimed that her female friend was attacked with a crowbar and a male friend was also assaulted.

The incident is alleged to have taken place at a car park and picnic spot near Drogheda, Co Louth.

The court heard that the women, Natasha Cluskey (23) and Christina Leslie, were with two men they knew and who they had met in a nightclub in Drogheda earlier.

On trial at Dundalk Circuit Criminal Court are two men who have been charged with violent disorder.

Both Lukas Smalenas (21), of The Drive, Highlands, Drogheda, and Marius Baciulias (21), of St Michael's Terrace, Clogherhead, Co Louth, deny the charges.

It is alleged to have taken place on March 10, 2009, at Townley Hall Woods, Townley Hall, Drogheda.

Baciulias is also accused of causing damage to a car in the alleged incident.

The court heard the two women and two men -- Mark Kavanagh and Gareth 'Geno' Jein -- had driven to the woods after leaving a nightclub in Drogheda.

Natasha Cluskey said that they had parked the car up on the grass and when they decided to start it again, it would not start because "it got stuck in the mud and grass".

The four decided to get out of the car and try and push it off the grass.

She said there had been another car at the woods and the men in it got out and asked if the group wanted to drink with them. They said had no.

She told the jury "one of the fellas put his hand on Christina and said I will look after you".

She said things then happened very quickly and a conflict broke out.

She said Mark and 'Geno' "got hit with stuff, it was like crowbars. So did Christina".

Natasha Cluskey said that after the conflict broke out, she and Christina jumped into the car and locked it and "all of a sudden the windows came through on top of us".

She said the car door was opened and "they dragged me out of the car.

They stuck a black handgun to my head and said do you want to live or die, and I said I want to live."

She said Mark Kavanagh "was on the grass all busted up". She said his "ear was split in two and hanging off. His head was busted open."

"Christina was getting her face smashed with a crow bar and Marks whole head was smashed," she told the court.

She said 'Geno' "had disappeared, we actually thought he was dead".

Opening the case for the prosecution, Kevin Seagrave told the jury the men in the other car were described as speaking with foreign accents.

Some of them were allegedly the accused, he said.

The trial continues this morning before Judge Gerard Griffin and a jury and is expected to last until next week.

hnews@herald.ie

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