‘Woman would be alive if gardaí had handled my case properly’

A woman attacked by a man who went on to murder Sylvia Roche Kelly in Limerick in December 2007 has claimed the 33-year-old would still be alive if her own case had been handled properly by gardaí.

Taxi driver Mary Lynch said she narrowly escaped being raped or killed, or both, when Jerry McGrath brutally assaulted her after she dropped him off at a house near Virginia, Co Cavan, on April 30, 2007.

“When he assaulted me and got out of the car and ran, by the time he got to the driver’s door his flies were open. He was trying to get my head bent to that part of his body,” she said.

“He went to beat me up, he wanted to do more than just beat me up. I knew I was going to be either raped, murdered or both. As soon as I heard about the murder [of Ms Roche-Kelly] I realised actually I was right. That could have been my fate.”

During the attack, McGrath pulled her hair, kicked her in the stomach and bit on her shoulder.

She was only rescued after she managed to ring her husband on her mobile and he rang the gardaí.

Ms Lynch told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show that she was very unhappy with how gardaí in Bailieborough Garda Station dealt with her case.

“All along I’m phoning Bailieborough Garda Station. The arresting guard I got to speak to once and since then I have been asking for my hand-written statement and I’ve now been told that’s been destroyed, and as far as I know you’re not allowed todestroy the original statements.”

She said she had told gardaí all along that she wanted to be in court for the sentencing and give a victim impact statement.

“I knew my case was coming up on Monday, January 7, which was after the murder.

I had myself all prepared to go into court and get this thing over and done with, and on the Saturday before the court I got a phone call from a guard who said my case was not going ahead, there was no need for me to go to the court.”

She said on Monday she got a call from a guard she hadn’t dealt with before, who told her McGrath had received a nine-month sentence. This garda, an inspector, said he was based in Monaghan and was handed the case that morning.

Ms Lynch said she rang Bailieborough station over the following days but got no call back. She contacted the Garda Ombudsman and then tried the station again, informing them she was lodging a complaint unless they contacted her.

They did and went to her house for several hours to explain the case. Later a chief superintendent came to her house investigating her complaint.

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