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Man jailed after incident where he left an overturned car and attacked a local resident

Conor Clarke (29) was arrested in February 2019 for the incident.
Dec 13th 2021, 3:27 PM 31,265 0

A MAN WHO emerged from an overturned car and attacked a resident of the street on which the car had flipped upside down has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Conor Clarke (29) punched one man and jumped into another man’s car during an incident that ensued after he and two other men emerged from an overturned car.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that a nurse who had stopped to offer assistance later drove away from the scene as she feared Clarke would attempt to pull her out of her car.

Clarke, of Glenshane Green, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to the unlawful seizure of a vehicle, attempted seizure of a vehicle, assault and making threats to kill or cause serious harm, all at Hazelhatch Road, Newcastle, Co Dublin, on 15 February, 2019.

He has 55 previous convictions, including convictions for assault, theft, criminal damage, violent behaviour in a garda station, public order and road traffic offences.

Passing sentence today, Judge Elma Sheahan outlined the aggravating factors of the case to include Clarke’s previous similar convictions and the probation report which highlighted the accused is at high risk of reoffending.

Judge Sheahan said the mitigating factors of the case included the accused’s early guilty plea, his difficult upbringing, and the break-up of a relationship in the days before the incident.

The court heard Clarke has expressed remorse and shame for his actions and has engaged with the probation services. He has suffered from depression and anxiety, has a history of substance abuse, and is the father of three young children.

Judge Sheahan sentenced Clarke to four-and-a-half years imprisonment, but suspended the final 12 months on conditions including that he undertake anger management classes and follow treatment plans for drug and alcohol use and random urine analysis.

Clarke will also be under the supervision of the Probation Service for 12 months on his release.

At a previous sentencing hearing, Garda Linda Ryan told Siobhán Ní Chúlacháin BL, prosecuting, that on the morning in question, John Daly was in his home when he heard a loud bang and went to look out his window where he saw a car overturned on the street.

Garda Ryan said Mr Daly told his wife to ring for an ambulance and then ran outside where he saw three men emerge from the car including Clarke. Two of the men appeared to be shaken up, while the accused man was aggressive.

Clarke jumped on top of the overturned car and began jumping up and down, telling the other two men to jump onto it so they could turn it back over and get out of there. He also acted aggressively towards residents of the street, and Mr Daly told him not to speak to women like that.

The accused man then jumped from the car, lunged at Mr Daly and punched him in the face. Mr Daly managed to restrain Clarke, who said he would stop if Mr Daly let him up, only to strike Mr Daly again when the victim did so and also threatened to kill him.

Mr Daly jumped up onto the wall of his home and Clarke ran after him, spitting at him as Mr Daly tried to keep the accused man away from him.

During the altercation, another man arrived at the scene in his car and the accused man came towards him roaring and shouting. Clarke jumped into this man’s car and there was a struggle between them, which came to an end when Mr Daly assisted the man in getting Clarke out of the car.

A nurse had been driving home when she saw the overturned car and stopped to assist. She went to see if the three men were okay and witnessed the altercation between Clarke and Mr Daly.

At one stage the nurse thought Clarke might have a knife and she ran back to her car, getting inside after seeing him pick up a bottle of vodka. Clarke went around the front of her car while touching the bonnet and then came around the driver side.

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Fearing he was going to pull her out of the car, the nurse reversed away from him and then drove from the scene.

The court heard that gardaí arrived at the scene and arrested Clarke because of his behaviour.

Garda Ryan agreed with Sarah-Jane O’Callaghan BL, defending, that while this has had a “devastating impact” on the nurse, she said in her victim impact statement that she feels sorry for Clarke and hopes he gets the help he needs.

The garda said she thinks the nurse’s biggest issue was that she was “essentially a Good Samaritan” and the situation got out of control, but the nurse does acknowledge that there appears to be “severe anger” there.

Garda Ryan agreed with counsel that a psychological report before the court concluded that Clarke falls within the range of severe depression and has very high anxiety.

Ms O’Callaghan said this was “deplorable conduct” and said her client could not look at the CCTV footage played in court because “there is such shame at what he has done”.

Counsel said her client “has fallen through the cracks” whether it is his own fault or whether he did not have a proactive enough family to ensure he got to see a psychologist.

Ms O’Callaghan said her client knows he will be subjected to a custodial sentence and asked that the judge order a probation report. She asked that whatever sentence is arrived at will incentivise her client to rehabilitate.

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Brion Hoban and Claire Henry


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