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Wednesday 13 November 2019

This will stay with me forever - mum wrongly sent to jail

Amy Daly was wrongly sent to jail in a mix up over TV licence
Amy Daly was wrongly sent to jail in a mix up over TV licence
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

An innocent young mother who was sent to Mountjoy Prison in a case of mistaken identity has said the ordeal will stay with her forever.

Amy Daly (27) was wrongly detained on January 9, 2015, after gardaí came to her home in Tullamore, Co Offaly, with a warrant for the arrest of someone with a similar name who had failed to show up at a court appearance over a TV licence.

Amy, who is a law student, was arrested, detained at Tullamore garda station for six hours and then brought to Mountjoy Prison in a caged van.

She explained to the gardaí that she had been collecting stamps for her TV licence and the TV inspector had only called to her door the day before and said everything was fine.

Amy said: "[My son] Jayden was in the house at the time, he had just turned four, and my grandparents were in Australia and my parents were working so I'd nobody to leave him with.

"The guards told me I had to find someone to leave him with because I had to go to Mountjoy. I dropped him with a neighbour and told them I would only be a few minutes to sort it out because it was a mistake.

"At the station they weren't having any of it, they didn't believe me. They took my belongings off me and processed me before I was placed in a cell.

"I was completely distraught. I suffered from panic attacks in the past and I was just so upset, plus I had had to leave my son, it was just a nightmare.

"When I was being taken out of the cell I thought, 'Thank God, I get to go home,' but that was when they said I was being transferred to Mountjoy."

When they arrived at the Dublin prison, Amy was processed and placed in a holding cell alongside other people. It was only when they were being called out one by one that officers called her by a different surname and realised it was a case of mistaken identity.

She sued the Garda Commissioner, the governor of the Dochas Centre at Mountjoy, the Minister for Justice and Equality, and the State over the incident.

The State parties had admitted liability for these breaches but there was an issue over the level of damages. The case was opened before a jury last month but was settled following talks.

Irish Independent

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