Sister of drug-murder victim gets €10,000 'bus rage' payout
A YOUNG woman whose brother was murdered in a drugs feud in Spain six years ago was awarded €10,000 in damages yesterday, following a row with a bus driver after she had wrongly driven into a bus lane.
College student Tracey Sugg (22) claimed that bus driver Gerard Hearne called her a "dirty smelly trollop" and a "tramp" after she drove across his path during the rush hour.
Yesterday, her barrister Conor Kearney told Dublin Circuit Civil Court that Ms Sugg could not have been a worse candidate for road-rage aggression and abuse because of a very difficult upbringing.
Judge Rory MacCabe heard that her brother, Stephen Sugg, was murdered in Spain in 2004 in connection with a drugs feud and that she had been undergoing treatment for depression prior to the bus incident.
Ms Sugg, of Church Terrace, Finglas, Dublin, told the court she had wrongly driven in the bus lane at Edgewood Lawns, Dublin, on November 13, 2008.
She was on her way to college and later, when she was stopped in traffic, the bus driver banged on her window, which she partially wound down.
According to Ms Sugg, Mr Hearne said: "You are only a blonde bimbo. You are a dirty, smelly trollop and a tramp."
She said she drove off and he followed her in the bus, flashing his lights and driving up close to her car. Ms Sugg said she felt frightened and intimidated.
Mr Hearne told the court he would not use such language to anyone. He wanted to speak to her about her driving and asked what had been going on when she had driven across him.
He said she had endangered her own life and those of his passengers. He added that immediately returned to the vehicle when she told him: "If you don't go away, I'll break your f***ing legs."
Mr Hearne told the judge he regretted having left his bus and would not do so again. He agreed that driving very close to her car and flashing his lights would have been very intimidating. He denied kicking her car.
Judge MacCabe said he had seen a video recording of Mr Hearne's driving before and after the incident and believed that he had been annoyed, as he was entitled to be, by the manner of Ms Sugg's driving.
"We all have to put up with this type of driving but it doesn't excuse his behaviour," Judge MacCabe said. "Mr Hearne should not have got out of his bus to remonstrate with her and his driving and light flashing after the incident could only have been a manifestation of his own anger and an attempt to intimidate her."
Awarding Ms Sugg €10,000 and costs, he said professional drivers were supposed to behave professionally.
Mr Hearne's behaviour had exacerbated a previously existing condition from which Ms Sugg was suffering.
Dublin Bus declined to comment last night.