Driving youth tried to mow me down, says garda

A garda has told how she feared for her life as a speeding car with a 16-year-old youth at the wheel tried to mow her down when she was on foot patrol in Limerick.

Garda Niamh Keogh told Limerick Circuit Court: “When he started driving towards me I thought I would be killed or seriously injured. I feared for my life. The vehicle was coming straight towards me.”

Garda Keogh said she was saved by jumping behind a pillar.

She recognised the driver, then aged 16, from her work as a community garda in the O’Malley Park area.

“He tried to mow me down,” she said.

A youth, now 17, has denied charges of endangering the life of Garda Keogh and the unlawful use of car.

Garda Keogh recalled being on foot patrol in O’Malley Park in Southill on the afternoon of May 23, 2012. She was near the health centre when she heard high revs of a car engine and screeching noises.

She then saw a red Mazda 323 do a 360-degree turn on the road and drive in an erratic, dangerous manner. As it was a dry day the car created a smoke-like effect from dust on the road.

After turning, the car went back in the direction it had come from.

There were about 20 youths around and they screamed and whistled at the driver to alert him of her presence.

As she continued to walk on the footpath, the car came back and was facing her. The car stalled for a few seconds and she could hear the driver accelerating and revving the engine in a violent manner. At this point the car started to move straight at her.

As it sped towards her she jumped behind a pillar to protect herself.

The car sped past and she got an unobstructed view of the driver. He was wearing a hoodie but the hood was not up and his face was uncovered.

She immediately recognised the driver as the accused. His family had previously lived in the O’Malley Park area.

Garda Keogh said she was 100% sure it was the accused boy.

As the car sped past her it was still being driven erratically at speed, with screeching tyres.

Garda Keogh said as she took cover behind the pillar the speeding car was only 2m away from her as it sped past.

The trial before Judge Carroll Moran and a jury continues.

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