herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Garda tells of horror moment pal was killed

COLLEAGUE: 'His body disappeared into the darkness'

A GARDA told a manslaughter trial how he saw his colleague "disappear into the darkness" after being hit from behind by a fleeing car.

The final moments in the life of Garda Robbie McCallion -- who died in the line of duty -- were described in court.

The 29-year-old officer was mown down as he was investigating a suspected car theft in Letterkenny, Co Donegal last year, the court heard.

The Co Mayo-born garda had his back turned when a fleeing car struck him. He bounced off its windscreen, and was thrown 12 to 15ft into the air, before landing in the front garden of a nearby house.

"His body appeared limp and lifeless. It disappeared into the darkness," Garda Shane Lavelle told a court yesterday.

Garda Joanne Doherty found her injured colleague lying on his side against a broken wooden fence, part of which was on his neck. She removed it to help his breathing.

Their evidence was heard on the opening day of the trial of Jamie McGrenaghan, of Gortnacraw, Kerrykeel, Fanad, Co Donegal who is denying the manslaughter of Garda McCallion on April 7, 2009.

McGrenaghan has also pleaded not guilty to a charge of endangering the lives of Garda Joanne Doherty and Garda Shane Lavelle by driving at them in a manner that put their lives at risk on March 26, 2009.



HOSPITAL

He has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Garda McCallion on March 26, 2009 and to stealing a car on the same date.

Swinford-born Garda McCallion died at Beaumont Hospital less than two weeks after he was knocked down while investigating reports of a stolen car in Tara Court, Letterkenny.

Garda Joanne Doherty said that she and Gardai McCallion and Lavelle responded to a report at 4.30am to attend a scene at Tara Court.

They approached a youth standing in front of a white- coloured Toyota Corolla. Behind it was a wine-coloured Peugeot with its lights on and engine running.

All three gardai got out of the patrol car to investigate further when the Peugeot began revving at high speed and reversing away from the scene.

The gardai got back into the patrol car to block the Peugeot from leaving the scene. It stopped again and began revving loudly and coming towards the patrol car at speed.

"I looked up and I could see the car with lights on coming straight for where we were," Garda Doherty told the trial.

She said that the car was travelling "extremely fast" but it veered off at the last minute and she heard a very loud bang. The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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