A Louth man who was involved in the false imprisonment of a man who was found by gardaí crouched naked in a bathtub and covered in slash wounds has been jailed for four and a half years.
John McGahon, aged 21, was arrested after the Armed Support Unit forced entry to a Drogheda house to rescue the victim following a 999 call describing how a man had been abducted in the area.
The court heard it was McGahon who drove the car that brought the victim Aaron Rochford, 22, to a house and he was caught on CCTV helping to remove Aaron from the car and later to “bundle” him over a rear wall and into an adjacent house from where he was later rescued.
McGahon was described as “more a follower than a leader” and was not one of the ringleaders.
The court heard there was no evidence he was involved in the assault on Aaron in the house.
A co-accused, Dean Thornton, aged 23, of Beechwood Drive, Marley's Lane, Drogheda, is already serving a three year sentence for his role.
McGahon, of Hawthorn House, Lawrences Park, Drogheda, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment of Aaron Rochford at the Moneymore Estate, Drogheda on November 11, 2018.
Gardai were policing the estate on the night in question as there was a “fraught atmosphere” due to an ongoing feud. After a call to gardaí outlined serious concerns for the safety of a man taken from the street, the armed support unit breached the front door of a house in the estate.
Mr Rochford, then 22 years old, was found by gardaí in a state of shock, naked in a bathtub and covered in blood having sustained a broken jaw and slash wounds to his upper torso and head.
Mr Rochford has since passed away in circumstances completely unrelated to this case.
His grandmother Mary Rochford said Aaron was a “lovable rogue” and described going to see him in the hospital, where he was kept for a week with “horrific injuries”. She felt her “heart stopped beating” because she was so upset at how he looked with bruises, cuts and blood everywhere.
Judge Martin Nolan said that on this date there had been “some feud” in existence in Drogehda and McGahon had brought the injured party back to the house in his car, before bundling him over a back wall into a second house from where he was later rescued.
He said the incident had lasted about 45 minutes and must have been a terribly traumatic experience for the victim.
Judge Nolan took into account McGahon's guilty plea and remorse, as well as the fact he was 18 years old at the time and had no previous convictions.
He noted McGahon was “more a follower than a leader” but said he still deserved a reasonably substantial sentence by reason of his involvement.
Judge Nolan imposed a four and a half year sentence, giving credit for time spent in custody.