A GARDA who was stabbed in the chest while heroically fighting off Chinese “bandits” during an armed robbery eight years ago was awarded €65,000 compensation in the High Court today.
Mr Justice Peter Charleton heard that Garda James Hendrick, of Castletownbere in Cork, and Garda David Comer, a native of Galway, stationed in Howth at the time, had been called to a house in Main Street, Raheny, Dublin where a burglary on a number of Chinese people had been reported.
Garda Hendrick, who won a Scott Medal for his bravery, told his barrister Brid O’Flaherty that when they arrived at the house, a “terrified” Chinese woman told them she had escaped through the window in her bedroom where she was being held.
He and Garda Comer had gone into the house where both had been seriously stabbed by a Chinese man brandishing a knife. He thought Garda Comer was going to die.
There were a number of Chinese national women and a man being held by the burglars who later escaped but were apprehended.
Two Chinese, Xiang Cheng (25) and Quian Cheng (28) pleaded guilty in the Circuit Criminal Court in July 2008 to assaulting Garda Hendrick and aggravated burglary and false imprisonment of the Chinese nationals.
At that trial, the jury heard that Garda Hendrick and Garda Comer believed they were going to be killed by a balaclava-masked man wielding a knife who repeatedly stabbed them after they had foiled the burglary.
Jailing them for seven years and directing that they leave Ireland on their release, Judge Tony Hunt described them as a “gang of bandits” who had devised a very significant plan involving the watching and robbery of vulnerable women.
Judge Hunt said it was very clear that “more sinister individuals had been involved in the crime.”
Garda Hendrick said he and Garda Comer had run upstairs after the burglars in total darkness when Garda Comer got stabbed a number of times in the back in a “frenzied style attack.”
Garda Hendrick, who had called on the radio for assistance, told the court he was stabbed in the chest and in the left wrist. He said he picked up Garda Comer, who had been seriously injured, and brought him down the stairs.
The court heard they were rushed by ambulance for treatment at the Accident and Emergency Department of Beaumont Hospital.
Garda Hendrick said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and his social life went downhill. The incident had a negative impact on his marriage.
He said he had been unable to go back to work in Howth Garda Station and had later been transferred to a one-man station in Co Cork.
Judge Charleton said he had no doubt Garda Hendrick, who was awarded a Scott Medal for bravery, acted professionally. He said Garda Hendrick had not been seriously physically injured but had suffered deep psychological effects.
The judge said Garda Hendrick, who had faced “the situation in a heroic fashion,” undervalued himself. He awarded him €65,000.