Man emerges from overturned car to attack local resident

by Gazette Reporter
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A man emerged from an overturned car and attacked a resident of the street on which the car had flipped upside down, a court has heard. 

Conor Clarke (29) punched one man and jumped into another man’s car during an incident that ensued after he and two other men emerged from an overturned car. 

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that a nurse who had stopped to offer assistance later drove away from the scene as she feared Clarke would attempt to pull her out of her car. 

Clarke, of Glenshane Green, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to unlawful seizure of a vehicle, attempted seizure of a vehicle, assault and making threats to kill or cause serious harm, all at Hazelhatch Road, Newcastle, Co Dublin, on February 15, 2019.

He has 55 previous convictions, including convictions for assault, theft, criminal damage, violent behaviour in a garda station, public order and road traffic offences.

Garda Linda Ryan told Siobhán Ní Chúlacháin BL, prosecuting, that on the morning in question, John Daly was in his home when he heard a loud bang and went to look out his window where he saw a car overturned on the street. 

Gda Ryan said Mr Daly told his wife to ring for an ambulance and then ran outside where he saw three men emerge from the car including Clarke. Two of the men appeared to be shaken up, while the accused man was aggressive. 

Clarke jumped on top of the overturned car and began jumping up and town, telling the other two men to jump onto it so they could turn it back over and get out of there. He also acted aggressively towards residents of the street, and Mr Daly told him not to speak to women like that.

The accused man then jumped from the car, lunged at Mr Daly and punched him in the face. Mr Daly managed to restrain Clarke, who said he would stop if Mr Daly let him up, only to strike Mr Daly again when the victim did so and also threatened to kill him. 

Mr Daly jumped up onto the wall of his home and Clarke ran after him, spitting at him as Mr Daly tried to keep the accused man away from him.

During the altercation, another man arrived at the scene in his car and the accused man came towards him roaring and shouting. Clarke jumped into this man’s car and there was a struggle between them, which came to an end when Mr Daly assisted the man in getting Clarke out of the car. 

A nurse had been driving home when she saw the overturned car and stopped to assist. She went to see if the three men were okay and witnessed the altercation between Clarke and Mr Daly.

At one stage the nurse thought Clarke might have a knife and she ran back to her car, getting inside after seeing him pick up a bottle of vodka. Clarke went around the front of her car while touching the bonnet and then came around the driver side.

Fearing he was going to pull her out of the car, the nurse reversed away from him and then drove from the scene.

The court heard that gardaí arrived at the scene and arrested Clarke because of his behaviour. 

Gda Ryan agreed with Sarah-Jane O’Callaghan BL, defending, that while this has had a “devastating impact” on the nurse, she said in her victim impact statement that she feels sorry for Clarke and hopes he gets the help he needs. 

The garda said she thinks the nurse’s biggest issue was that she was “essentially a Good Samaritan” and the situation got out of control, but the nurse does acknowledge that there appears to be “severe anger” there.

Gda Ryan agreed with counsel that a psychological report before the court concluded that Clarke falls within the range of severe depression and has very high anxiety. 

Ms O’Callaghan said this was “deplorable conduct” and said her client could not look at the CCTV footage played in court because “there is such shame at what he has done”. 

Counsel said her client “has fallen through the cracks” whether it is his own fault or whether he did not have a proactive enough family to ensure he got to see a psychologist. 

Ms O’Callaghan said her client knows he will be subjected to a custodial sentence and asked that the judge order a probation report. She asked that whatever sentence is arrived at will incentivise her client to rehabilitate. 

Judge Elma Sheahan ordered a report from the Probation Service and remanded Clarke in custody. She adjourned the matter for finalisation on November 1, next. 

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