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Thief gets four years for crash that flipped over family's vehicle


Garda: File photo

Garda: File photo

Garda: File photo

A car thief smirked and ran away when a driver he had smashed into asked him for help to escape from his flipped-over vehicle, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard.

Eddie Tiernan's ten year-old son and eight year-old daughter were also in the car when Paddy Lawrence (18) crashed into them. Mr Tiernan and his children were hospitalised but suffered only minor injuries.

Lawrence, of Gardiner Hill, Balbriggan, Dublin pleaded guilty to unlawful taking of a car and handling stolen property on March 4, 2015, and criminal damage and dangerous driving at locations in Balbriggan on March 7, 2015.

Lawrence took the Skoda from outside a house in Balbriggan on March 4, 2015, while the owner briefly went inside to get water to thaw out the windshield.

Garda Kate Daly Ni Bhroin told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that Lawrence fled in the stolen car, a Skoda Octavia, when he saw gardai drive into Castlelands Estate three days later at just after 4pm.

GardaĆ­ pursued Lawrence, who drove away at high speed, causing other cars to swerve and forcing a man walking his dog to jump into a ditch to avoid the vehicle.

Gardai lost sight of the vehicle, but at 4.30pm they were alerted to a collision at Naul Road, where Lawrence had smashed into Mr Tiernan's car while rounding a corner.

Lawrence and the other four passengers of the stolen car ran off into the fields while Mr Tiernan and his children tried to escape their car through a smashed window.

Gda Ni Bhroin told Ms Small that Mr Tiernan asked Lawrence to help him and his children get out of his overturned car, but he "smirked and ran off". Lawrence was arrested at his home later that day.

Lawrence has 37 previous convictions including unauthorised taking of a vehicle, dangerous driving and criminal damage.

Describing the crash as "inevitable" and Lawrence as "incorrigible", Judge Martin Nolan sentenced him to four years jail, suspending the final 18 months.