Limerick taxi driver was ‘strangled’ by customer

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Limerick Courthouse
A TAXI driver was subjected to a “nightmare scenario” when a customer wrapped the flex of his on-board camera around his neck and tried to strangle him, a court has heard.

A TAXI driver was subjected to a “nightmare scenario” when a customer wrapped the flex of his on-board camera around his neck and tried to strangle him, a court has heard.

Patrick Curtin, aged 30, who has an address at Cloughnadromin, Ballysimon pleaded guilty to robbing €80 from the taxi driver at Main Street, Caherconlish during the early hours of May 18, 2013.

During a sentencing hearing this Wednesday, Limerick Circuit Court was told Curtin and his then girlfriend hailed the taxi near Brown Thomas in the city centre at around 3am and asked to be brought to Caherconlish having agreed a fare of €25.

Detective Garda Gary Laide said neither of them were excessively drunk and that they were “chatty” throughout the journey.

He said when the taxi stopped near the petrol station in the village, the woman got out and walked down a laneway to her home.

The taxi driver told gardai at this point he noticed a change in the defendant’s personality and he described how he “went mental” and attacked him.

He grabbed the camera from the window, wrapped the cord around the taxi driver neck and “squeezed it” in an attempt to strangle him.

He punched the taxi driver a number of times before threatening to cut off his head when he managed to free himself.

Det Garda Laide said Curtin proceeded took around €80 in cash from the taxi before fleeing when the driver flagged down another car to raise the alarm.

John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, said the taxi driver, who did not make a victim impact statement, told gardai he was in fear of his life and was “fully convinced he was going to be killed”.

Mark Nicholas BL said his client’s actions had been despicable but that he had made admissions and pleaded guilty to the charges.

He said there is a recurring theme of intoxication with Curtin but that the incident was a “marked step up from his earlier messing”.

Judge O’Donnell has indicated he will sentence the defendant this Friday afternoon.