Thursday 17 January 2019

Man jailed for dragging girl into building in 'bizarre case'

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Ralph Riegel

A man who dragged a teenage girl into a building and then assaulted two gardaí has been jailed for two years.

Shane O'Neill (45) of Shanacashel, Kilmichael, Co Cork was jailed as he pleaded guilty before Cork Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to the 16 year old girl and to assaulting two Gardai at Macroom Garda Station.

He also pleaded guilty to attempting to escape from lawful Garda custody.  Judge Sean O'Donnabhain said it was "a very bizarre case" with Mr O'Neill insisting he had only approached the teenage girl as he feared for her safety because of a white van he became very suspicious of.

The terrified teen said she had been approached by a man who dragged her into a building after repeatedly asking her for the time.

She was dragged around the building until the quick-witted teen managed to make her escape.

Gardai were alerted and identified a vehicle leaving the scene via CCTV security camera footage.

The teen was very distressed at the scene.

She has since been left very nervous about being alone near strangers.

Mr O'Neill was arrested and taken to Macroom Garda Station for questioning about the incident on July 26 2017.

However, at the station he attempted to escape from lawful custody and assaulted two Gardai in the process, Garda Kieran Cremin and Garda Carmel Nash.

Judge O'Donnabhain said the baffling aspect of the case was the total lack of explanation for the defendant's actions.

"The assault was quite bizarre," he said.

"It is worrying that there was no apparent reason and no explanation."

Judge O'Donnabhain noted that Mr O'Neill's explanation about being worried for the girl's safety because of a mysterious white van was only offered months after the incident to the Probation and Welfare Service (PWS).

The court also heard that when Mr O'Neill was first interviewed by Gardai about the incidents, he became very emotional.

At no stage did he mention the mysterious white van to Gardai.

On July 26 at Macroom Garda Station, the defendant asked to use the toilet and, while there, suddenly forced his way past the attending officers and ran into a back yard.

He was only detained again after a violent struggle. Judge O'Donnabhain noted the defendant's plea, his remorse and co-operation with Gardai.

He imposed a three year prison sentence but agreed to suspend the final year.

The sentence was backdated to July.

Irish Independent

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