By Declan Brennan
Two Dublin men who dragged a woman from her car before stealing the car have received partially suspended prison sentences of seven years.
Martin Cully (35) and Eugene Traynor (40) stood in the middle of the road and forced the woman to stop her car.
Cully then opened the passenger front door, leaned in and unbuckled the woman’s seatbelt. Traynor took the car keys and both men then began roaring at the woman to get out.
The men grabbed her by the arms to drag her out but the woman tried to anchor herself inside the car. She was unable to hold on and fell out of the car and hit the ground, badly bruising her arm.
A passing car stopped and a young man got out and armed himself with an iron bar. He approached the scene but by this stage the men were in the car and Cully drove off at speed.
The woman later told gardaí that she felt so helpless and scared. She said when she tried to shout for help, her voice failed her.
“If I’d resisted, God only knows what the outcome would have been. I am a positive person but as much as I try to forget about it and put it behind I still recall that horrible experience vividly,” she said, in a victim impact statement.
She said she suffered from nightmares and flashbacks of the “horrible, terrifying experience”.
Cully of Dromcarra Green, Jobstown, Tallaght, and Traynor of Whitestown Grove, Blanchardstown, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to unlawful seizure of a vehicle at Old Connacht Avenue, Bray, Co Wicklow, on June 15, 2017.
Cully, who was previously disqualified from driving for 30 years for driving with no insurance, also pleaded guilty to two charges of dangerous driving on this occasion.
Judge Patrick Quinn banned Cully from driving for life. He suspended the final two years on Cully’s sentence and the final two and a half years on Traynor’s sentence.
Both sentences were backdated to last June when the pair went into custody. Judge Quinn also ordered that the men must stay drug free and engage with drug treatment programmes as a condition of the suspensions.
He described the high speed chase that followed the car-jacking as frightening. The court head Cully drove erratically and at speed across residential estates and Judge Quinn said the car was “out of control”.
Cully drove on the wrong side of the road, forcing oncoming drivers to swerve out of the way and breaking speed limits. The car chase only ended when Cully crashed the car into a pole.
Cully’s 67 previous convictions include seven for burglary. Traynor’s 20 previous convictions include robbery and theft offences.
Hugh Harnett SC, defending Cully, said his client’s crimes were a result of his drug addiction and he was attempting to get treatment. He said Cully was out of control on drugs on the day of the attack.
He said his client wanted to apologise to the victim and to tell her that “it was nothing personal”. He said none of Cully’s previous convictions involved violence.
Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending Traynor, said his client had a supportive and loving family. He said Traynor was a drug addict who knew he must commit to treatment to break the habit.