Garda who had legs crushed by stolen car gets €975,000 compensation

Man jailed for seven years for causing serious harm to Meath officer

 

A Co Meath garda whose legs were crushed in an assault in August 2015 has been awarded €975,000 compensation by the High Court.

Garda Ciarán Murrihy, of Macetown, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath, was on duty with three other gardaí­ when he was deliberately crushed between a stolen car and a Garda vehicle, breaking his legs.

The driver of the stolen car Patrick McDonagh, of Bath Road, Balbriggan, later pleaded guilty to having caused serious harm to Garda Murrihy. The then 26-year-old was jailed for seven years on February 5th, 2016.

Conor E Byrne, who appeared at the High Court compensation hearing on Monday, told Mr Justice Michael Twomey that following a protracted period of negotiations the parties by consent had agreed on a figure of compensation of €975,000 for Garda Murrihy.

Catherine Needham, counsel for the State, confirmed that the settlement figure had been reached by consent.

Mr Justice Twomey congratulated the parties on reaching agreement on the level of compensation without a full hearing, which he said was always the preferable approach in such serious cases.

Garda Murrihy, had been on duty with with Garda Lucy Wood at Clonusk Rise, Hamlet Lane, Balbriggan, in August 2015 when they noticed the stolen Citroen Xsara car that had been taken in a burglary earlier that day.

A criminal court hearing was told later that the two gardaí approached the vehicle and after the occupants identified themselves, McDonagh put the car into reverse gear trailing the two gardaí­ with him and crushing Garda Murrihy’s legs when he struck the Garda car. A third garda was also dragged along the ground.

The court had heard that Garda Murrihy had to roll away to avoid his legs being repeatedly run over. Garda Wood, who was aslo injured, attended the criminal court wearing a sling on her right arm in order to give evidence.

Garda Murrihy was in a wheelchair when he attended the criminal court in February 2016 and the court heard he was expected to be out of work for “a very long time.”

In a victim impact statement, Garda Murrihy said he was haunted by the vision of McDonagh driving the stolen car at him. As a result of his injuries, he had gone from being a proud garda and active father-of-two to feeling useless.

“McDonagh stole my life from me and has left me with so little,” he had stated.

Before Judge Martin Nolan sent McDonagh to jail for seven years, the court heard that he had continued to drive the Citroen over Garda Murrihy’s legs after having jammed him against the Garda squad car.

Mr Justice Twomey approved the settlement and on the application of Ms Needham directed the release of Garda Murrihy’s medical files.