Drugged-up carjacker who left boy at roadside gets jailed
A 33-year-old man who abandoned a three-year-old boy at the side of a country road after hijacking his mother's car has been jailed for five years.
Noel Price, of Kileely Road, Limerick, drove for a mile with the child in the back of the stolen car before leaving him out on a narrow road in minus four temperatures.
At his sentencing hearing at Limerick Circuit Court yesterday, the court heard the accused had earlier forced the boy's 12-year-old sister out of the car by jabbing a screwdriver into her back.
The girl, who was sitting in the front-passenger seat when Price entered the car, suffered injuries to her knees when she was forced to jump from the moving car. Her nine-year-old brother, who was sitting in the back, managed to escape before Price sped away in the black Opel Zafira with the youngest child inside.
The terrifying ordeal began shortly after 9am on January 20 outside the Woodview Shopping Centre on the Old Cratloe Road in Limerick when the mother, who was on the school run, left the keys in the ignition when she went into a shop.
Garda Neil O'Gorman told the court that Price abandoned the boy about a mile down the road at the side of a narrow country road.
Evidence was heard that Price then drove the car at high speed on icy roads, becoming airborne on two occasions and narrowly missing parents and children on their way to school.
He eventually crashed the car into a tree after gardai fired two shots to disable the vehicle.
Price was wearing a bullet-proof vest and was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when he was arrested, the court heard.
He told gardai he couldn't remember much about the events but accepted he had taken the car and must have removed the child.
Price was jailed for 10 years in 2003 for arson after petrol bombing a house while the family was inside.
Before imposing sentence yesterday, Judge Carroll Moran said Price could have been before the court on a murder charge, given the manner in which he was driving.
Judge Moran said Price had inflicted the most appalling traumatic experience on the family. "God knows what went through the mind of the mother while this was going on,"Judge Moran said.
The judge said the appropriate sentence was one of seven years' jail, but suspended two years of the term.
He also disqualified Price from driving for 20 years.