Terrifying ordeal Woman (70) who was thrown into boot of a car during attempted abduction ‘still suffers nightmares’
At first Martin Gallagher denied the allegations but later admitted them, claiming it was a joke that went wrong.
March 09 2021 01:31 PM
A woman who was thrown into the boot of a car during an attempted abduction has said she still has nightmares about what would have happened if she had not got out of the vehicle.
Martin Gallagher (21) faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment over the terrifying incident near the Phoenix Park last year which he claimed was a “joke that went wrong”.
He will be sentenced tomorrow morning after pleading guilty to assaulting and falsely imprisoning the 70-year-old victim while she was out for a morning walk on January 6, 2020.
At the time the woman was caring for her now deceased husband who had dementia and said she went through the aftermath ordeal without him being able to comfort her.
Dublin Circuit Court heard that she was walking along Blackhorse Avenue, Dublin 7, at around 7.45am when she came across a man standing beside a car with the boot open.
Det Gda Paul Kirwan gave evidence that as the victim passed by she was grabbed from behind and thrown into the boot of the car.
The court heard Martin Gallagher said nothing as he made three or four attempts to close the boot but couldn’t as the woman’s legs were dangling out.
The victim was then dragged out and Gallagher tried to put her into the back seat as she continued “kicking and screaming for her life”.
After the struggle he then threw her face first to the ground towards a wall before fleeing the scene.
A passer-by on his way to work saw the incident and at first thought it was a man fighting with his child, before stopping and coming to the woman’s aid.
She was taken back to her home and gardaí later noted she had severe bruising to her eye sockets, a cut to her face and bruising to her shin bones.
Later that day at 5.45pm the accused was witnessed driving a car matching the description of the vehicle involved and arrested. At first he denied the allegations but later admitted them, claiming it was a joke that went wrong.
Gallagher told gardaí he thought the victim was a friend that he wanted to frighten, who he only gave a first name. He told them: “I am really sorry for what I done. It was a joke that went wrong”.
He also said that he had been drinking that day and the previous night while driving around the area.
The accused’s DNA was later found on the victim’s fingernails and he was later charged in relation to the incident.
In her victim impact statement the woman said that she still has nightmares and frightening thoughts “about what would have happened if I had not got out of that boot of that car.”
She said that she was caring for her husband at the time who suffered with dementia and passed away last October.
“I’ve had to go through all of this and my husband couldn’t even comfort me,” she said in her statement read to the court by Det Sgt Maeve Ward.
“My husband didn’t know why I was crying all the time and why my face was black, blue and swollen. When I think back to the life I had I can’t stop crying,” the woman said.
In mitigation Gallagher’s defence counsel said that he had not previously come to the attention to gardaí for criminality, having only one previous conviction for a speeding offence.
Counsel also said that Gallagher, of Rusheeney Avenue, Hartstown, Dublin, was remorseful for what he had done and that he was taking drugs at the time of the incident.
The court was told that the maximum sentence for assault causing harm was five years, while the max prison term for false imprisonment was life.
Judge Martin Nolan inquired about the height of the woman, in relation to claims Gallagher thought she was a male friend, and was told the victim is 5ft.
Judge Nolan said he would consider the matter overnight and would impose sentence tomorrow morning.