Thursday 22 March 2018

Woman's finger severed after nightclub incident

Thomas Dennis was charged with failing to report an occurance. Picture credit; Damien Eagers/ Evening Herald
Thomas Dennis was charged with failing to report an occurance. Picture credit; Damien Eagers/ Evening Herald

A YOUNG man who drove off from a nightclub with a woman's finger caught in the car door - severing it below the nail - found the finger tip when he opened the door the next morning, a court heard.

Thomas Dennis (21) called his father when he found the finger tip but only reported the accident to gardai three hours later.

He was collecting his friends from a nightclub in Balbriggan when the victim came over to talk to them and he drove away not realising her hand was caught in the door.

The victim, Shauna Weldon, a qualified hairdresser, said she has had to retrain since the accident and is still receiving physiotherapy on her hand.

She also said she still fears losing the finger.

Judge Dermot Dempsey fined Dennis €1,500, saying his hands were tied because the offence carries a maximum monetary fine of €2,000.

The defendant, of Newtown Parks in Skerries, admitted before Swords District Court to failing to report an occurrence at Quay Street in Balbriggan around 3.30am on December 16, 2012.

Garda Kieran Moloney said Dennis was picking up two friends who had been in the nightclub when Ms Weldon, who is in her 20s, came over to the car.

Gda Moloney said Ms Weldon was talking to the passengers, who she did not know, and had her hand on the door. It was claimed that Ms Weldon tried to get into the car but she denied this.

One of the passengers then closed the door and Dennis drove off.

The garda said Ms Weldon's ring finger became caught in the car door and the top part of her finger was severed off. The tip of the finger was severed to below the nail line.

Gda Moloney said the defendant opened the car door the next day and a severed finger tip fell out.

Dennis texted his father, a taxi driver, around 12 midday to ask him what to do, but he was unable to speak to him until later on in the day.

Gda Moloney said Dennis reported the incident to gardai at 3pm, around three hours after finding the severed finger.

The court heard the defendant has never been in trouble before.

Defence lawyer said the incident was most regrettable but Dennis was unaware of what had happened.

She said he saw a lady lying on the ground surrounded by a group when he drove off but he did not realise it was the same woman who had been talking to the people in his car.

The court heard there was a lot of revellers coming out of the nightclub and people were standing around the car.

The lawyer said Dennis co-operated fully with gardai, made a voluntary statement to them and was very apologetic for what had happened.

She said Dennis was the victim of an assault in 2008 and as well as suffering a broken nose he has suffered from anxiety since. He works as a volunteer for a youth suicide prevention charity.

The lawyer asked the judge to leave Dennis without a conviction, as he hopes to work abroad.

Judge Dempsey said Ms Weldon sustained very serious injuries. He fined Dennis €1,500 saying he was surprised the State did not bring more serious charges.

Eimear Cotter

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News