A young Dublin man who hijacked a car from a heavily- pregnant woman and her husband and threatened them with a steering wheel lock has been given a suspended sentence.
Susan O'Leary said she feared she would lose her unborn child when she and her husband Roddie had to run on an icy road to get away from the car thieves.
She also said she now suffers from depression and anxiety and never leaves the house.
David Richards (26) of Basin Lane, St James's Gate, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the unauthorised taking of a car on Meath Street in Dublin on January 1, 2010.
He also admitted drink driving, dangerous driving and driving without insurance and a licence in the same incident.
Judge Patrick McCartan imposed an 18-month suspended sentence and banned Richards from driving for ten years. He also ordered that €5,000 gathered by Richards in compensation be handed over to the victims.
Garda Cailin Doherty told the court that at 1.35am on New Year's Day in 2010, Ms O'Leary's BMW was taken by force by Richards and another man.
Richards' accomplice told them he would shoot them if they did not hand over the keys. They said they did not see a gun but the man held his hand in his shirt in the shape of a pistol.
Richards took the car wheel lock and threatened the couple.
Gda Doherty said Richards, who was drunk, took over driving the car from his accomplice after it had collided with a pole. He had difficulty driving on the icy roads and was soon apprehended by gardai.
Despite an early guilty plea, Richards absconded and the case dragged on for four years.
Judge McCartan said Richards "knew Mrs O'Leary was pregnant. Drink or no drink on him, he put them through a horrible experience".