By David Raleigh
A man who has been charged in connection with a violent carjacking last Sunday, in which a woman was struck on the head before she was driven away by her attacker, told gardaí after his arrest: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do it", a court has heard.
Ray McDonagh, (aged 27), of Ard Alainn, Bruree, Co Limerick, appeared before Limerick District Court this afternoon, charged with assault causing harm to Carolann Keenehan, in the carpark of the Brothers of Charity, Mulgrave Street, Limerick, on June 12 last.
Mr McDonagh, who appeared in court aided by crutches, was also charged with the unauthorised taking of Ms Keenehan's red Nissan Qashqai on the same date.
The vehicle was found 12 hours later submerged in water at a pier Seafield, Quilty, Co Clare.
Detective Garda Barry O'Grady alleged Mr McDonagh approached Ms Keenehan in the carpark of her workplace around 8am on the morning, and struck her on the head with a crutch.
He said the accused then drove off at speed in Ms Keenehan's car with the terrified owner inside.
Dtc O'Grady said that after driving the woman around for a few minutes, Mr McDonagh allowed her to get out of the vehicle at the Ballysimon Roundabout after "she pleaded with him" to let her go.
Dtc O'Grady alleged Mr McDonagh was later seen on security cameras at the Limerick Tunnel driving the stolen car and paying a toll to cross into Co Clare.
McDonagh was arrested at 11.40am last Monday at Greenhills Road, Garryowen in Limerick.
The court heard the accused told Gardaí after he was charged: "I'm very sorry I didn't mean to do it."
During a bail hearing Dtc O'Grady said he believed Mr McDonagh would "commit further serious offences while on bail".
He described the alleged offences before the court as "extremely serious".
"Someone could have been seriously injured," he said.
Dtc O'Grady also alleged that if Mr McDonagh was granted bail he would not appear in court again and would not abide by any bail conditions.
John Herbert, solicitor for the accused, said Mr McDonagh had been seriously injured in a recent dramatic incident, in which he was "dragged by a car" which "tore large chunks off his body".
Mr McDonagh broke down a number of times during the court hearing.
Judge Mary Larkin said she was "concerned" for the accused's well being.
However, as she told the accused she was granting bail, Mr McDonagh broke down again.
Addressing the accused the judge said: "Would you behave like an adult. You're like a 16-year old who got caught with his hands in the cookie jar."
"Now pull yourself together," she told Mr McDonagh.
Again addressing the accused, the judge added: "I can assure you, your crying doesn't cut any mustard in my court."
She granted bail on condition that half of a €6,000 surety be lodged with the court; that the accused stay away from the alleged victim; that he sign on twice daily at Bruff Garda Station; and that he be available to Gardaí at all times.
Mr McDonagh was remanded in custody with consent to bail, to appear before Limerick District Court, on June 21, for directions from the DPP.