herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Homeowner sued for €175k by burglar now on trial for alleged assault on him

BREAK-IN: Intruder had legs broken when he was hit by developer's Merc

A BUSINESSMAN was successfully sued for €175,000 by a burglar who broke into his house, a court has been told.

Property developer Martin McCaughey (48) is on trial for assault causing harm and for endangering the life of the burglar.

Mr McCaughey, of Benvista, Mount Avenue, Dundalk, denies reckless endangerment at Clann Chullainn Park, Farndreg, Dundalk, on June 27, 2008.

He also denies assault causing harm to Daniel McCormack (27), of Clann Chullainn Park, on the same date.

The State claims the accused used a Mercedes car, "as a weapon", to assault Mr McCormack.

Giving evidence at Dundalk Circuit Criminal Court, Mr McCormack said he had been very drunk when he left his house in the early hours and went into the home of the accused. He did not remember everything that happened but he could recall going in a side door and into an upstairs bathroom where there was jewellery at the sink.

Jewellery

He told the jury he found himself there "with jewellery stuck in my pockets". He then heard shouting and ran from the house and garden towards his home.

He was in his estate when he said he was struck by a car.

He said he "limped on" and got hit a second time by it. He said the accused told him: "I will kill you if you get up".

Both his legs were broken and he was in hospital for two-and-a-half weeks. He was in a wheelchair for six to eight weeks and then on crutches.

The court heard the accused was dressed in just his boxer shorts and he had shouted at the witness as he ran from the house.

Cross-examined by defence counsel Brendan Grehan, the witness agreed that when he went into the house "I was trespassing", and he was "looking for things to steal".

The witness also agreed he had left his home that morning planning to burgle houses and had done this before.

He did not know that Mr McCaughey had built the estate he lived in. The court heard the McCaughey's house overlooked the estate.

The court heard Daniel McCormack had been charged with burglary at Mr McCaughey's home and got a three-year sentence which had been suspended.

He agreed he had sued Mr McCaughey for €175,000. Mr McCormack said he had given €50,000 of this to the hospital he had been treated in.

Distraught

When Mr Grehan put it to him that McCaughey had wanted him to wait for the gardai to arrive but he (witness) was intent on getting away, he replied "Yes", and said: "I was more afraid of him than he was of me."

Mr Grehan said the accused had tried to "box you in with his car", to which the witness said, "yes."

John English, who lives in Clann Chullainn Park, was making coffee at about 6am when he looked out his kitchen window and saw a Mercedes car "had hit a chap".

He said "it was an accident" and the car had reversed and the driver -- the accused -- had got out. The driver "was distraught, he had his hands on his head, he was panicking", Mr English told the court.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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