Suspended sentence for driver after trailer pins woman to wall

Gerard McEnery (56) pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious harm


A landscape gardener has received a suspended three year jail sentence after the trailer he was towing behind a van became detached and hit a woman, causing her devastating injuries.

Gerard McEnery (56) of Slievewaddra, Ballyduff had pleaded guilty at the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee to dangerous driving causing serious harm and to having a defective trailer in Caherslee on July 13th, 2016.

The court previously heard McEnery was driving his van when the trailer ‘uncoupled’ and crossed the road.

It struck Natalie Ryan (26), pinning her against the wall of a house. Her foot was almost severed and she suffered “appalling injuries”, including a dislocated pelvis.

In her victim impact statement, Ms Ryan said she was in constant pain, has undergone 15 surgeries and may have to have her left leg amputated from below the knee.

She was due to start a Masters at NUI in Galway and the incident changed her life.

Garda public vehicle inspector Jim O’Brien said the trailer and towing attachment on McEnery’s van were worn and poorly maintained. This resulted in the trailer swaying from “side to side” and it was a danger to other road users.

At Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, Judge Thomas O’Donnell said he accepted speed and alcohol were not issues. He said McEnery showed a deep sense of remorse and is aware of the devastation caused to Ms Ryan.

He imposed a sentence of three years suspended on condition McEnery keeps the peace for three years. He was also disqualified from driving for six years from January 1st and fined €500 for driving a defective vehicle.