A teenager who “platformed” a woman with his car after accidentally backing into her vehicle while waiting to exit the parking lot of a busy mall has been spared jail.
Atrick O’Donnell, 20, was waiting at the Dundrum city center barriers in south Dublin when he accidentally backed into the vehicle behind him.
Both drivers got out, and O’Donnell offered to pay the woman the damage instead of going through his insurance.
Garda Stephen Morley said the woman was worried she didn’t know how much the repairs would cost and suggested getting insurance. She was phoning the Gardaí when O’Donnell got into his car and tried to drive away.
Gda Morley told prosecutors Garrett Baker BL that the woman had a hazy memory of what happened next, but CCTV footage showed her standing in front of the car to stop O’Donnell driving away.
O’Donnell drove on slowly and hit the woman several times before his passenger got out of the car to move her out of the way.
The woman again refused to move and after his passenger returned to the car, O’Donnell moved his car before hitting the woman one last time, injuring her, Gda Morley said.
O’Donnell, of Abbottstown Avenue, Finglas, Dublin 11, pleaded guilty in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting and dangerously driving woman in Dundrum city centre, Dublin on 15 December 2020. He has no criminal record.
Judge Melanie Greally asked for the CCTV footage of the incident to be shown a second time after Gda Morley finished his testimony.
“What happened was outrageous,” the judge said. “She (the victim) did absolutely the right thing and it was obvious that security was there. There were many means by which it could have been dealt with appropriately.”
But she said O’Donnell “bulldozed” the woman, although she admitted he drove slowly at first.
She said the woman was adamant in her desire to keep O’Donnell there and that what O’Donnell did was “extremely dangerous”.
Judge Greally noted that the woman was already suffering from depression and anxiety and that in terms of her mental well-being she “has suffered greatly since.”
The judge said mitigating factors included the defendant’s early admissions of guilt and expressions of remorse. His lack of a criminal record and the fact that O’Donnell was 18 at the time of the crime also spoke in his favour. She also noted that O’Donnell handed over 1,000 euros in compensation, which the injured party accepted.
She was found to have severe bruising around her eye which had been swollen shut for two weeks. She suffered from severe headaches that made her vomit, and her pre-existing depression worsened
Judge Greally sentenced O’Donnell to two years in prison, which suspended her fully on probation. Because of dangerous driving, she sentenced him to four months in prison, which she also suspended completely on probation.
O’Donnell was also banned from driving for four years.
Gda Morley said the woman went to Wexford General Hospital the following day, where she was found to have severe bruising around her eye which had been swollen shut for two weeks. She suffered from severe headaches that made her vomit, and her pre-existing depression worsened.
The woman said in her victim impact testimony, read in part by Mr Baker, that she found it difficult to believe that a young lad would do this to her.
Agreeing with David Fleming BL, Gda Morley defended that O’Donnell drove to his mother’s home immediately after leaving Dundrum and told her what had happened. She told him to go straight to Garda train station.
The Garda agreed that he himself was still in Dundrum town center after responding to the call when colleagues from Finglas Garda station called him to say that O’Donnell had come to their station to confess .
He accepted that O’Donnell had immediately offered the woman 100 euros for the damage to avoid his insurance claiming, but she was not happy with that.
“He then made a series of mistakes and is now in quite some trouble in court,” Mr Fleming said.
Gda Morley agreed the woman has also filed a civil suit over the injuries she sustained that day.
Mr Fleming said his client “paniced and just wanted to get out of there”.
“At no point did he want to hurt her. He wanted to scare her to get her to move and he has shown genuine remorse for hurting her,” the attorney added.
Mr Fleming said his client has since married. He said he was instructed to apologize to the victim “unreservedly” and said O’Donnell was “ashamed” of his behavior.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/teen-who-bulldozed-woman-with-his-car-while-trying-to-flee-scene-of-crash-spared-jail-42134696.html Teenager who ‘plodded’ woman with his car while trying to flee scene of accident was spared in jail