Sunday 26 January 2020

Illegally parked driver 'lost rag' and attacked clamper with a crowbar

John Purdue Picture: Frank McGrath
John Purdue Picture: Frank McGrath
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A motorist threatened to kill a parking enforcer before attacking him with a crowbar after the man clamped his van while it was parked illegally outside a bank.

The clamper feared for his life as John Purdue (59) "lost the rag" and ran at him with the bar, telling him: "Just because you are big doesn't mean you won't be taken down."

A court heard the victim was left with a torn knee ligament following the attack in north Dublin. Purdue, who denied assault, was found guilty but spared jail and given a six-month suspended sentence.

His defence argued the injury was not consistent with victim Dean Weldridge's evidence, and suggested it happened as he fell during the struggle. Purdue insisted he dropped the crowbar and never hit Mr Weldridge with it.

Judge Dermot Simms said he was satisfied that an assault had taken place and an injury was caused. It was a serious assault on someone employed to carry out the difficult task of parking enforcement, he said.

Purdue, of Belcamp Avenue, Priorswood, had pleaded not guilty to assaulting Mr Weldridge at Northern Cross, Malahide Road, on September 12, 2016.

Mr Weldridge said he came across the accused's van between 10.30am and 11am that morning. It was in a yellow box and signs clearly stated that there was no parking at any time. He proceeded to attach a clamp to the wheel.

He was down on one knee when Purdue came running towards him, shouting threats.

Purdue "barged" him with his knees and told him he was "going to kill me if I didn't take the clamp off".

Mr Weldridge told the accused he was only doing his job.

"He started threatening me again, he threatened to kill me, he said if I didn't take the clamp off I was a dead man," Mr Weldridge said.

Purdue tried to break the clamp by driving back and forth over it while it was still attached. The accused got more frustrated and realised the clamp was not going to come off and got out of the van.

The accused got out and circled the van, disappeared behind it and reappeared holding a crowbar. Purdue hit Mr Weldridge him from the back with the crowbar, screaming and spitting at him. Mr Weldridge fell on top of him, restrained him and got the bar off him.

Mr Weldridge said his knee was "completely shot" for nine months after the incident. Defence solicitor Declan Fahy said his client had "lost the rag" on the day in question.

Purdue told the Irish Independent last night that despite avoiding jail, he was still unhappy with the outcome of the case. "I got six months' suspended sentence which I thought was very unfair," he added.

"He's in his 20s and 6ft 4in and I'm nearly 60 and 5ft 6in and he said I attacked him?"

Irish Independent

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