Friday 20 September 2019

Man who attempted abduction of girl (11) earlier this year given 17-year sentence

Michael Martin leaving Portlaoise Circuit Court
Michael Martin leaving Portlaoise Circuit Court

Eoghan McConnell

A man who attempted the abduction of an eleven-year-old girl earlier this year has been sentenced to 17 years, with the last four years suspended.

Michael Martin (36), originally from Dublin but with an address at Shandon Court, Yellow Road, Waterford city, was described by Judge Keenan Johnson as having an “appalling criminal record”.

The judge commended the bravery of the girl’s brother whose “natural instinct to protect his sister swung into action once he saw the dangers she was in.”

“He was extremely brave and showed great presence of mind, maturity beyond his years, and leadership.”

 “The shocking irony of this case is the fact that Ireland would be expected to provide a safe environment for children.”

“Thankfully cases of this nature are uncommon in Ireland when compared with other jurisdictions. One can only imagine the family’s sense of shock and betrayal when the accused abducted [the girl].”

Mr Martin had pleaded guilty to the false imprisonment of the eleven-year-old girl following an incident at Cullohill, Co Laois, on March 4 last.

Garda Anne Marie Deegan had told prosecuting counsel Will Fennelly that the eleven-year-old girl and her brothers, were playing at a rural location in Cullohill when they were approached by a man driving a jeep.

The court heard the girl 'was picked up and put into the SUV through the driver's door across the passenger seat.'

The man then attempted to drive away but one of the brothers 'ran up, reached in and attempted to strike the driver in the vehicle.'

The court heard that boy then continued 'hanging off' the jeep with his feet off the ground.

Garda Deegan said the three children were able to give a description and provide a partial registration of the jeep.

“His appalling criminal record is clearly an aggravating factor that I must take into account,” the Judge said.

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