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Garda held handbrake to stop himself being thrown out of reversing car following high-speed chase

Garda Conor Murray said he was pulling a passenger from the car when it began reversing.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

A GARDA HAS told a jury that he had to hold on to the handbrake lever of a reversing car as his legs hung out of the passenger window of the car.

Garda Conor Murray told the trial of the driver and passenger of the car that the two accused repeatedly struck him as he struggled to prevent himself being thrown out of the car.

He said he had earlier approached the front passenger side of the car after it had crashed following an early morning high speed chase in July 2019.

The car had driven at speed through red lights and in the wrong direction along busy streets in Dublin city centre before crashing into a lamp post.

The garda told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that he was pulling the passenger from the car when the driver started the car again and began reversing.

He said he had to run along the side of the car to prevent being dragged under the car.

“The passenger and driver pulled me half way in to the vehicle,” he said. His upper body was inside the car and the passenger put his head in a head lock, the garda said.

He said the driver began punching him and the passenger was kneeing him and both men were shouting at him in a foreign language, as well as repeatedly shouting “fuck you”.

Handbrake pulled

Jonathan Coelho, 29, of Duleek, Co Meath admits driving the car on the night and Federico Carvalho, 31, of Blessington Street, Dublin 9 admits he was the passenger.

Both deny charges of assault causing harm to the garda on 31 July, 2019 at St Lukes’ Avenue, Dublin 8.

Jonathan Coelho also denies endangerment of the garda on the same occasion. The jury has heard he has pleaded guilty to a number of charges of dangerous driving on the night at locations around Kevin Street Dublin 8.

The garda told the jury while the car was reversing, he managed to pull up the handbrake and the vehicle slowed.

He said the passenger then opened his door and both men tried to throw him from the vehicle.

He said he managed to wrestle himself away from the passenger and the passenger exited the car.

The garda said the driver began repeatedly kicking him as he held on to the door frame but a final kick struck his face and he was thrown from the car.

He said his arm was caught in the doorframe and his body was dragged for a short distance.

Feared for his life

The car stopped and he rolled away and saw the car then driving back towards him and he said he feared for his life.

He rolled away again and felt the car tyre over his hand. The car crashed again and he got up and ran to the car.

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The car then again drove towards him and he had to jump out of the way. He said he returned to his car and sat down and began to feel light headed.

“I was in serious pain,” he said. He said his clothes were ripped and his nose and mouth were bleeding. He said he began to try to make notes of the incident but was unable and was brought by ambulance to hospital.

Keith Spencer BL, defending Coelho, said his client denies dragging the garda into the car.

He put it to the garda that he “made it your business” to jump into the window of the car.

The garda denied this was the case. Counsel put it to him that none of his garda colleagues described him being covered in blood and the garda said he would find that surprising.

He told the defence that after leaving hospital he disposed of his clothes because they were covered in blood. He said that in hindsight this was “a stupid mistake”.

The trial continues before Judge Melanie Greally and a jury.

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Declan Brennan

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