24 May 2022

Man tells of horror at suffering life-changing injuries Midlands car ramming incident

Man tells of horror at suffering life-changing injuries Midlands car ramming incident

Judge Keenan Johnson

A man has told a court how his life has been turned upside down after a car in which his first cousin was a front seat passenger was used to knock him down and break his leg in Co Longford three years ago.

Gerald Donoghue spent five days in hospital and underwent two operations after a silver Fiat Punto crashed into him as he waited for his partner outside a shop on Pound Street, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford on January 7, 2019.

Twenty-one-year-old Eamon Stokes, 44 Cluain Na Sibhe, Killashee, Co Longford pleaded guilty to assault causing harm and possession of a hatchet.

"We were supposed to be family," said Mr Donoghue in a victim impact statement at Longford Circuit Criminal Court today.
"I pull up a hood anywhere I go now as I think they are coming to get me again."

The court heard Mr Stokes and a co accused also due before the courts, both fled the scene on foot after the incident.

Judge Keenan Johnson was told the pair had fallen out over claims Mr Stokes had previously had a fling with Mr Donoghue's partner.

The court heard both men had less than half an hour earlier inadvertently come across each other while collecting their social welfare from a local post office.

Counsel for the State Shane Geraghty BL said after striking Mr Donoghue and pinning him against a wall, the car reversed and moved forward for a second time before cutting out.

Mr Stokes, who was on bail at the time, handed in a written apology to his cousin in which he expressed hope the pair could put the episode behind them.

"I know I am 100 per cent responsible for my actions. We were a very close family before all this happened and I hope we can put all of this behind us and some day talk in the future," he said.

Mr Stokes added, "We are first cousins, we grew up together like brothers. Both our families have suffered and I would like to see an end to it all. This feud has ripped our families apart."

The court heard the car which had been used in the incident had been purchased under 'fictitious' means two days previously and when seized by gardai was found containing a hatchet in the passenger footwell where Mr Stokes had been sitting.

The accused, it was revealed, had over 30 previous convictions, including three for assault and had been on bail at the time.

His partner, Aisling McCleary explained how Mr Stokes succumbed to a drug and alcohol habit in the wake of his brother's death in 2019.

Judge Johnson described the episode as "extremely serious" in view of the fact Mr Donoghue was left with life changing injuries.

He said the court must also consider the fact the offence took place while Mr Stokes was on bail and adjourned sentencing until February 3 2022.

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