A retired garda sergeant who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after being involved in a 21-hour siege in Gort, Co Galway, eight years ago has been awarded €50,000 damages in the High Court.
Mr Justice Bernard Barton said during a Garda Compensation hearing that Peter Carr had been in a dangerous and life-threatening situation and it was no surprise he had suffered psychological injuries.
The court had heard that gardaí received a call from a woman around 11.20pm on October 8, 2006, stating shots had been heard at Crowe Street, Gort.
Two Garda cars had been dispatched and it had transpired that a domestic dispute had taken place at No 67, where Anthony Burke had fired shots. His partner and three children had fled to a neighbour’s house.
Burke, who had two shotguns and around 1,400 cartridges, had been firing round after round from his house, from the front and back doors and an upstairs window.
When gardaí, including Sgt Carr, who was not armed, attempted to approach the house to make contact with him, Burke had fired at them.
Sgt Carr had been concerned about the safety of Burke’s partner, their three children and the neighbour who had taken them in. He had waited for a break in the firing to evacuate the neighbour’s house.
He had managed to get the two women and children to a safe place. Shots had been fired while he was evacuating them and he had feared for their lives.
The Emergency Response Unit, negotiators, a helicopter and dog units had been sent to the scene to deal with the situation.
The siege had lasted until 9pm the next day, October 9, when Burke was shot in the shoulder by a member of the gardaí before being knocked to the ground.
Burke was arrested while being treated in University Hospital Galway. He was sentenced to five years.
Sgt Carr said he had developed PTSD symptoms after the incident and had personally tried to deal with it before seeking professional help four years later. He had suffered panic attacks, sleep disturbance and his family life and social life had been disturbed.
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