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Man who left Garda in wheelchair after crushing him with stolen car jailed for seven years

Patrick McDonagh pleaded guilty to causing serious harm to Garda Ciaran Murrihy in Balbriggan, Co Dublin, last August.

Irish Budget 2015 File Photo Source: Niall Carson

A DUBLIN MAN who left a garda with life-altering leg injuries when he jammed him between a stolen car and a patrol vehicle has been jailed for seven years.

Patrick McDonagh (26) of Bath Road, Balbriggan, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to causing serious harm to Garda Ciaran Murrihy at Clonuske Rise, Hamlet Lane, Balbriggan on 29 August 2015.

He further pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment of Gda Murrihy, assaulting Garda Stephen Hughes and Garda Vincent Turley and unlawful use and criminal damage of a vehicle at the same location and date.

Garda Murrihy, who is still in a wheelchair, described in his victim impact statement how he was “haunted” by the vision of McDonagh driving the stolen car directly at him.

“Stole my life”

Gda Murrihy said he had since gone from being a proud Garda and active father-of-two to feeling “useless”.

“I was so active and now I spend all day, every day doing nothing… it was not meant to be like this,” he said in the statement read out in court by Sergeant Padraig Lynch.

Gda Murrihy outlined how he had been in a “good place” in his 14-year career and had loved the way his children saw him as “their big, strong dad”.

He also paid tribute to his wife, who he said helped him with everything. He described missing work and his formerly busy lifestyle and added that he now only had medical appointments to plan for.

He said McDonagh “stole my life from me and has left me with so little”.

McDonagh has 19 previous convictions, including drunk driving, robbery and aggravated burglary.

Judge Martin Nolan imposed the seven year sentence on the most serious charge.

He imposed a concurrent sentence of three and a half years for the offence of assaulting Gda Hughes. The sentences will date from 31 August 2015 when McDonagh went into custody.

Stolen

Sgt Lynch told Kathleen Noctor BL, prosecuting, that Gda Murrihy, Gda Hughes and Garda Lucy Woods spotted the stolen Citroen parked in the estate.

He said McDonagh reversed the vehicle as the gardaí approached it on foot from either side and crashed into the patrol car behind, jamming Gda Murrihy.

Gda Murrihy fell on the ground as the Citroen continued moving backwards over his ankle.

McDonagh then drove the vehicle forward while Gda Murrihy was on the ground and sped around the corner into a cul-de-sac, where he crashed the car into a wall and attempted to flee on foot.

He assaulted Gda Turley as he was being arrested and made no admissions during interview, but entered an early guilty plea.

Sgt Lynch accepted that the incident happened very quickly when Garnet Orange SC, defending, suggested it was like “something in a bad movie”.

Mr Orange submitted that his client had been intoxicated on drugs and had not been fully aware of what was going on that night, but had not set out to deliberately harm the gardaí.

Read: ‘Black Irishman’ wins court case after racist assault by bus driver

Read: Woman awarded €16k in damages after suffering whiplash when driver ‘tipped’ her car

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Aoife Nic Ardghail

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