A HIGH Court judge has paid tribute to a young garda who attempted to save the life of his "colleague and best friend" who died shortly after their patrol car had been rammed in Co Donegal three years ago.
Garda Bernard McLoughlin told Ms Justice Mary Irvine that after finding a pulse he held his colleague Garda Gary McLoughlin’s head in a recovery position in their wrecked car until emergency services arrived.
Michael Carson SC, for Garda Bernard McLoughlin, told a Garda Compensation hearing today that, tragically, Garda Gary McLoughlin had died in hospital only hours after the crash.
Garda Bernard McLoughlin, who, since the crash on December 13, 2009, has taken educational leave to study in Australia, was awarded a total of €45.000 compensation for hip and leg injuries.
Judge Irvine said the two men who shared the same surname were more than colleagues. They were best friends who had shared a flat and had trained together in Templemore Training Centre before sharing garda duties in Buncrana, Co Donegal.
Garda Bernard McLoughlin, currently of James Street, Perth, Australia, told the court he and Gary, a native of Leitrim, had been searching for a speeding red car when it crashed into them at Lisfannon, Burt, Co Donegal.
After extricating himself from the wrecked car he had held Gary’s head in a recovery position until help arrived. The scene was as if there had been a bomb explosion. He and Gary had been taken to hospital in the same ambulance and Gary had died in the early hours of the morning.
At Letterkenny Circuit Court in July 2011, Martin McDermott, of Castlegrove, Raphoe, Co Donegal, was sentenced to eight years imprisonment, with the final year suspended, for the manslaughter of Garda Gary McLoughlin.
McDermott (26) later absconded in March 15, 2012 from Loughan Prison, Co Cavan. He was arrested the following day in Derry and extradited back to the Republic.