Taxi man with a ‘good heart’ sexually abused passed-out passenger
Gerard Gunnery threw victim out on the street after attack
November 14 2020 02:20 AM
A taxi driver who sexually assaulted a late night passenger after she had passed out drunk in his car will be sentenced next month.
The victim told gardaí that she woke up to find Gerard Gunnery (60) with his hand inside her and masturbating himself.
She said he then became aggressive and threw her out of the car, leaving her in a heap on the side of the road.
Lawyers for Gunnery asked Judge Karen O’Connor not to define him for these “10 minutes of a life” which was otherwise “all of good”.
The defence said his client’s actions that night were “completely out of character”.
He handed in testimonials describing Gunnery as a hard working “good man” with a “kind heart”.
Gunnery, of Ellenfield Road, Whitehall, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexual assault of the woman at a place in Dublin city on December 23, 2017.
After a sentence hearing yesterday, Judge O’Connor remanded Gunnery into custody to December 11.
In her victim impact statement, the woman said that what was a regular girls’ night out turned into a nightmare.
She described getting into the taxi in town and said she “completely passed out”.
She said she remembers the other two women later getting out at their destination and Gunnery suggesting to her to get into the front passenger seat.
“You put your hand on my leg. I brushed it off. That was the last thing I remember before I passed out again,” she said.
Neighbours told gardaí they heard a woman shouting “get off me” and “stop, don’t touch me” and saw the driver pulling the woman out of the taxi.
She was screaming that her leg was stuck and he came out and “threw her out of the way”.
The court heard she suffered bruising to her elbows, kneecaps and her jaw.
Gunnery made a statement to gardaí claiming that the woman had told him to “go for it” and that he would not have touched her if she had not said that.
“I am really sorry. She was drunk. I was sober,” he told gardaí.
The woman said she suffered crippling guilt and shame and entertained thoughts like “I drank too much, my skirt was too short, my knee high boots were too inviting”.
She feared her attacker was still out driving a taxi and knew where she lived and said she still suffers flashbacks and becomes upset if she sees a silver coloured taxi.
Judge O’Connor told the woman that “this was not your fault” and told her she had shown great strength on the night and since.
“I sincerely hope you get to a point where you can put this behind you,” she said.