Friday 19 January 2018

Man jailed after hi-jacking car by trapping owner’s hand in door

Sonya McLean

A MAN who hi-jacked a car after trapping the owner’s hand in the door of the vehicle and then leading gardaí on a high speed chase has been sentenced to three years.

Stephen Feery (23) formerly of Snowdrop Walk, Darndale, in Dublin who has numerous previous convictions for hi-jacking and stealing cars, was disqualified from driving at the time. His younger sister had previously died in a road traffic accident.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to taking possession of a car without the consent of the owner and assault causing harm at Marlbourgh Place, Dublin 1 on June 19, 2011.

Feery also pleaded guilty to two charges of dangerous driving, driving without insurance and giving a false name and address. 

He has 92 previous convictions dating back to February 2004. His convictions include car theft, hi-jack, dangerous driving, driving without insurance or a driving license, endangerment, failing to stop for a garda, assault causing harm and burglary.

Garda Adrian Coffey told Vincent Heneghan BL, prosecuting, that the owner of a BMW was about to get into his vehicle when Feery came behind him and pulled him to the ground. The victim managed to get up as Feery was getting into the car but he closed the car door on his hand.

He was then dragged for a short time as Feery reversed the car until the victim managed to free his hand.

Gardaí later spotted the BMW parked with the lights switched off. When Feery spotted the patrol car he took off at high speed forcing the squad car to pull up so as to avoid a collision.

Gda Coffey said although it was past 3am there was a lot of people still around Dublin that night following a Take That concert in the city.

Gardaí pursued Feery but he continued to drive at high speed around the city centre, breaking red lights and driving in the wrong lane. A number of other members of the gardaí were called in to assist.

Gda Coffey said at one stage another patrol car had to take evasive action after Feery drove the BMW directly at the squad car.

The chase came to an end when Feery drove onto a footpath near College Green in an effort to try and overtake a number of cars which were stopped at a red light. He crashed into a van and a Ford Mondeo and although no one was injured, criminal damage was caused to both vehicles.

Feery was arrested after gardaí used a baton to smash the driver’s window and drag him from the BMW. He gave the gardaí the wrong name and address and made no admissions during interview.

David Hegarty BL, defending, told Judge Carmel Stewart that his client accepts that he is lucky no one was seriously injured. He said Feery’s sister had died a number of years previously in a road traffic accident.

He said Feery now has an 18 month year old child and his partner is expecting their second baby in November.

Judge Stewart said Feery was fortunate he was not facing more serious charges considering the manner he drove around a busy Dublin city.

She said he had “an appalling criminal record” but said he does not “seem to have amended ways”, considering how long he has been getting into trouble with the gardaí.

Judge Stewart said she had read a letter written by Feery and accepted that he is remorseful and is taking responsibility for his actions.

“He now wants to change his life around,” Judge Stewart said before she added “I hope that is what he will do”.

She suspended the last 12 months of the sentence on condition that Feery engage with the Probation Service upon his release and attend any treatment programmes they deem suitable. She also disqualified him from driving for seven years.

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