A court has heard how a woman was badly injured in Cork City in an escapade of violent mayhem when a man produced a knife, stole a Garda car, and drove to Cork Airport and then through a barrier onto the runway, where he tried to ram an airplane.
The woman was injured when her car was struck at speed by the culprit as he drove away from Cork City centre.
Susan O’Gorman, aged 40, of Grenagh, Co Cork, brought proceedings against the State to the High Court in Cork yesterday arising out the injuries she suffered on May 22, 2011.
Ms O’Gorman’s husband, Declan O’Gorman, had gone to the assistance of a garda in the Land Cruiser when he saw the man armed with the knife. Later, the armed man took control of the Garda jeep-type vehicle and reversed it at force into the car in which Ms O’Gorman was sitting as a passenger.
The High Court action for damages was commenced before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and continues today. The plaintiff’s counsel, John Lucey, said: “The case I make out against the State is essentially that the Garda car was left unmanned with the keys in the ignition while the perpetrator was followed down the street but he about-turned and drove off causing this problem.
“My case is negligence against [the State] for the manner in which the Garda vehicle was left with the keys in the ignition and later to be driven which led to the circumstances where the plaintiff was injured.”
Mr Lynch said the plaintiff’s husband had gone to the assistance of the garda at the time, helping to prevent what the counsel referred to as a very serious, if not fatal, attack on the garda.
The Garda vehicle was driven away by the culprit, Edmond Stapleton, who was previously dealt with by Cork Circuit Criminal Court. He crashed through a barrier at Cork Airport and tried to drive into a plane full of passengers but the car, which was damaged in the escapade, cut out on the runway.
Edmond Stapleton was jailed for 12 years, with the last five years suspended.
Ms O’Gorman described the scene on Patrick St at around 4.30pm that Sunday as she and her husband were driving through Cork’s main street.
She said her husband suddenly got out of the car to assist a guard.
Ms O’Gorman struggled to see what was going on but she could see a man with a knife and a garda bleeding from the face.
“The driver’s door was open in the Garda car. The guard had blood streaming down his face. Edmond Stapleton got into the jeep. I jumped back into the car when I saw him getting into the jeep because I didn’t know what was going to happen.
“He reversed the car into our vehicle at speed. I was in or on my way into the passenger seat. It was a short distance. He put his foot to floor. It [the impact] was brute force. I was thrown across our vehicle.
“A lot of people were watching but no one seemed to help,” the plaintiff said.
As for the injuries she sustained in the incident, Ms O’Gorman said: “It has progressively gotten worse rather than better.”
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