Garda ‘expected to die’ while hanging on to woman’s car

A garda has said he expected to die when a woman, who was high on crack cocaine, accelerated away as he was attempting to seize her vehicle.

Garda Thomas Gallagher (39) read his victim impact statement during the sentence hearing of Christina Joyce (30), who was jailed for 4½ years.

He said he felt he had to hold on to the door of the Volvo car to stop himself from being pulled under the vehicle. “There was nothing I could do. If I let go [of the driver’s door] I would be dragged under the car. I had nowhere to go. I accepted at that stage I was dead,” he told Judge Martin Nolan.

Garda Gallagher said he noticed that Joyce seemed to be driving her vehicle in the direction of a parked car across the road so he felt he had to let go of the door. He hit the ground and skidded into the parked car.

“I consider myself extremely lucky that I am alive and able to walk,” he said.

Garda Gallagher dislocated his knee and had to remain in a brace for eight weeks. He also injured his shoulder and was told he could not return to playing sports for about two years. He has has not yet returned to work.

Hallucinations

Joyce, a mother of three of no fixed abode, admitted endangering Garda Gallagher and assaulting him causing him harm on April 9th last. She also admitted two charges of trespass, damaging a wall and damaging a car on the same date. She has 67 previous convictions.

Keith Spencer, defending said his client is a paranoid schizophrenic who suffers from both auditory and visual hallucinations. Sgt Ronan Waldron told the court that Joyce, who had a male passenger with her, continued to drive at speed after her encounter with Garda Gallagher and ultimately crashed into a van.

They then broke into two properties while trying to escape and were found and arrested in the second of them.

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