Saturday 10 December 2016

Garda believed she would be choked to death by high-ranking navy officer - High Court

Saurya Cherfi

Published 30/06/2015 | 12:41

Garda Hilary Lynch, of Anglesea Street Garda Station, Cork, pictured leaving the Four Courts after she was awarded almost €90,000 damages following a High Court Garda Compensation hearing.Pic: Courts Collins
Garda Hilary Lynch, of Anglesea Street Garda Station, Cork, pictured leaving the Four Courts after she was awarded almost €90,000 damages following a High Court Garda Compensation hearing.Pic: Courts Collins

The High Court has heard that a garda believed she would be choked to death when a “drunken” high ranking British navy officer suddenly attacked her.

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Garda Hilary Lynch, of Anglesea Street Garda Station, Cork, told a garda compensation hearing that in September 2010 she had been in a patrol car escorting the drunken officer back to his ship at Kennedy Quay, Cork, when he had suddenly grabbed her neck.

Mr Justice Raymond Fullam heard she thought the Warrant Officer, Robert Nixon, attached to HMS Mersey, was going to kill her.

A Warrant Officer (WO) is a member of the highest group of non-commissioned ranks in the British armed forces and obtains the rank by holding the Queen’s Warrant.

Judge Fullam was told that colleagues in the squad car had succeeded in restraining Nixon, who had been arrested and charged in Cork District Court with assaulting Garda Lynch.  Nixon had later been ordered to pay her €5,000 compensation.

Garda Lynch told her counsel, Oonah McCrann SC, she had been struggling for breath for some time after the attack and had been taken to the Mercy University Hospital in Cork, for X-rays.

Garda Hilary Lynch, of Anglesea Street Garda Station, Cork, pictured leaving the Four Courts after she was awarded almost €90,000 damages following a High Court Garda Compensation hearing.Pic: Courts Collins
Garda Hilary Lynch, of Anglesea Street Garda Station, Cork, pictured leaving the Four Courts after she was awarded almost €90,000 damages following a High Court Garda Compensation hearing.Pic: Courts Collins

She had a sore throat and neck and had later felt pain in her left jaw, which had developed as a temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TJD), a disorder causing pain and clicking noises during jaw movements.

Garda Lynch, who had been advised to wear a splint at night, said she may have to undergo surgery to treat her TJD problem.

The court heard that the assault had exacerbated symptoms of a neck injury she had suffered as a result of a previous attack by another man in December 2008.

She had been on cycle duty when she intervened in an altercation between a man and two women in Cork and had been pushed to the ground off her bicycle. She had later developed episodes of dizziness and vertigo. 

Ms McCrann told the High Court Garda Lynch came from a well-known family, a member of which had represented Ireland in an Olympic horse-riding event. Garda Lynch had been very fit before the 2008 incident but afterwards had to cancel participation in the Great North Run in England.

Lynch, who received 9/10 in a Garda Exam for Sergeant, said she was never promoted and alleged her career had been affected because of her injuries.

Judge Fullam awarded her €47,674 compensation in relation to the bicycle incident, and €41,823 in relation to her assault by the British officer, a total of €89,497.

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