A woman who was badly injured in incident of violent driving by an armed man who drove away in a Garda car in Cork City has settled her claim for damages out of court yesterday.
The judge praised the valour of the plaintiff’s husband and the garda driver in dealing with the attack. Susan O’Gorman, 40, of Grenagh, Co Cork, settled her case against the State at the High Court in Cork yesterday afternoon on the second day of her action arising out the injuries she suffered on Sunday, May 22, 2011.
Ms O’Gorman’s husband, Declan O’Gorman, had gone to the assistance of a garda in the landcruiser when he saw an attacker armed with a 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, before driving off to Cork Airport where the violent drama ended on the runway.
Mr Justice Paul McDermott said he was impressed by the valour of Declan O’Gorman and Garda Michael Bohane in dealing with what he described as a murderous attack.
“It just shows you when people do the right thing and try to support gardaí in some cases there is a price to be paid. I am sure the gardaí would be very grateful for the intervention of Mr O’Gorman and the huge cost that entailed for Mr O’Gorman and his wife,” Mr Justice McDermott said. The judge said it was a difficult case and he was glad the matter had been resolved.
The plaintiff’s senior counsel, John Lucey, said in opening the case on Wednesday: “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,” he said.
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 cut out on the runway. Stapleton was jailed for 12 years with the last five suspended.
Ms O’Gorman testified: “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 to 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.”
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