Gerard Ward will be sentenced in July
A COUNTY Limerick man who threatened to rape and kill the wife and children of a taxi driver will be sentenced in July.
Gerard Ward, aged 40, of Glenma, Croom, has pleaded guilty to several charges, including robbery, relating to an incident on January 25, 2013.
During a sentencing hearing, Garda Tom Flavin said Ward had been socialising in the city and approached the driver at a rank at around 10pm.
The driver – a Nigerian national – told gardai that Ward “seemed friendly at first” but suddenly turned on him as they entered a remote cul de sac near Croom.
He had earlier instructed the victim to travel the 18km to the village via “back roads” claiming it was quicker than travelling on the motorway.
After the taxi pulled over, Ward - who has a number of serious convictions – threatened him and demanded that he hand over his cash.
Garda Flavin said the victim was then ordered to get out of the car and warned he would be killed if he looked at his (Ward’s) face.
After he handed over his driver’s licence, the victim was told to get into the boot of the car by Ward who threatened he was going to “ride me and my wife”.
The defendant also ordered the driver to “fall on his knees” threatening he was going to kill him.
After picking up an iron bar, the father-of-three then ordered the taxi driver to go to a tree where he was going to “whip” him.
“The driver kept pleading with him to stop,” Michael Collins BL, prosecuting, told the court.
Ward then drove the taxi into Croom where he wiped his finger prints off the steering wheel, and “walked off into the night”.
As he did so, he told the victim he knew where he lived.
Ward was later identified on CCTV approaching the taxi and a mobile phone belonging to the taxi driver was found at his home.
In a victim impact statement, the taxi driver said he was “particularly disturbed” by threats against his kids and is still fearful more than three years after the incident.
While he continues to work nights, he is “constantly apprehensive and anxious” as a result of what happened.
Mark Nicholas BL, defending, said his client’s guilty plea was important in the context of the case.
He accepted there had been a “deplorable threat of violence” but added that no violence had actually occurred.
Ward will be sentenced on July 28, next.