Monday 19 August 2019

Garda who was crushed between stolen car and patrol vehicle awarded €975k

Garda Ciaran Murrihy who suffered serious injuries when he was crushed between a stolen car and a patrol vehicle. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Garda Ciaran Murrihy who suffered serious injuries when he was crushed between a stolen car and a patrol vehicle. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Ray Managh

A garda whose legs were crushed when a man rammed him with a stolen car and then drove over his legs has been awarded €975,000 by the High Court.

Garda Ciaran Murrihy was on duty with three other gardaí in August 2015 when he was deliberately crushed between a stolen car and a garda vehicle, breaking his legs.

The driver of the stolen car, Patrick McDonagh, who was then aged 26, later pleaded guilty to causing serious harm to Garda Murrihy and was jailed for seven years on February 5, 2016.

Garda Murrihy was in a wheelchair when he attended the criminal court in February 2016 and the court heard he was expected to be out of work for “a very long time”.

McDonagh stole my life from me and has left me with so little Garda Ciaran Murrihy

In a victim impact statement to the criminal court Garda Murrihy said he was haunted by the vision of McDonagh driving the stolen car directly at him. As a result of his injuries he had gone from being a proud Garda and active father-of-two to feeling useless.

“McDonagh stole my life from me and has left me with so little,” he had said.

Before Judge Martin Nolan sent McDonagh - of Bath Road, Balbriggan, Dublin - to jail for seven years the court heard that he had continued to drive the Citroen over Garda Murrihy’s legs after having jammed him against the garda squad car.

Barrister Conor E Byrne, who appeared at the High Court Compensation Hearing today, told Mr Justice Michael Twomey that following a protracted period of negotiations the parties by consent had agreed on a figure of compensation of €975,000 for Garda Murrihy.

Catherine Needham, counsel for the State, confirmed that the settlement figure had been reached by consent.

Judge Twomey congratulated the parties on reaching agreement on the level of compensation without a full hearing which he said was always the preferable approach in such serious cases.

Garda Murrihy - represented by Augustus Cullen Law Solicitors -  and Garda Lucy Wood, who was also injured in the incident, had been on duty at Clonusk Rise, Hamlet Lane, Balbriggan, on August 2015 when they noticed the stolen Citroen Xsara car that had been taken in a burglary earlier that day.

A criminal court hearing was told later that the two gardaí approached the vehicle and after the occupants identified themselves McDonagh slapped the car into reverse gear, trailing the two gardaí with him and crushing Garda Murrihy’s legs when he struck the garda car. A Garda Hughes had also been dragged along the ground.

The court had heard that Garda Murrihy - of Macetown, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath - had to roll away to avoid his legs being repeatedly run over. Garda Wood attended the criminal court wearing a sling on her right arm in order to give evidence.

Judge Twomey approved the settlement and on the application of Ms Needham directed the release of Garda Murrihy’s medical fliles.

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