Updated: 19/10/16 : 05:24:08
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Sligo garda dragged by drug suspect's car

A garda has told a court he feared for his life as he was dragged along a road while hanging onto a car being driven by a drugs suspect.

Sergeant John Walsh told Sligo Circuit Court he was dragged in the direction of a line of parked cars .

After being forced to release his grip, he then had to avoid being hit by a patrol car which was chasing the suspect.

Tommy Corcoran (22) of Ard an Mara, Cartron Point, Sligo pleaded guilty to a charge of endangering Sgt Walsh on April 19th, 2013. He also admitted possession of cannabis for the purpose of supply on the same date.

Marese McDonagh writing in The Irish Times reports that the court heard gardai were en route to the defendant’s home with a warrant when they stopped the car he was driving.

When told he going to be searched, the accused put the car into reverse and “took off at some speed” with Sgt Walsh hanging on to the driver’s side window, the court was told.

After hearing Sgt Walsh’s victim impact statement Judge Keenan Johnson said he “could have been killed”.

He said that while gardaí frequently come in for criticism “some of it justified, a lot of it not justified”, they often put their lives on the line to protect citizens.

Abandoned

The judge heard the accused had abandoned his car and ran into the mud flats at Sligo bay where he threw most of the contents of a bag into the sea.

Cannabise worth about €200 was later retrieved by gardaí.

Sgt Walsh, who was out of work for two months after the incident, told the court he was still impacted by his injuries.

He told the court the defendant was in “a dark and dangerous place” because of drug use at the time .
But he believed Corcoran, the father of two young children, had now turned a corner.

Sgt Walsh said he was still dealing with the fallout from the accused’s “split second decision” but for his own mental health he had to forgive him.

Judge Johnson, who commended the sergeant for his “restraint and magnanimity”, remanded the defendant in custody until next Wednesday when he will be sentenced.

The accused apologised in court to the garda, saying he was “extremely sorry”. He said he had left the jurisdiction after the incident because he was scared, even though a two-year suspended sentenced he had previously received was still live.