A MAN who contested a charge of stealing a vehicle while its owner was at a match in Thomond Park has been sentenced to four months in prison by Limerick District Court.
Judge Aeneas McCarthy heard that John Moran, 22, with an address at Cherrydale, Dublin Road, denied that on January 20 last he stole a green Nissan that afternoon on Rossa Avenue. Gardai on a routine patrol on the Canal Bank observed the vehicle being driven by the accused, who abandoned the car while it was still running and fled into Richmond rugby club, before he jumped a wall and was apprehended in the back garden of a house in Drominbeg, Rhebogue. Gardai said they saw another man running ahead of the defendant in front of him on the green.
Garda Wayne Cahalane, attached to Roxboro Road station, said he kept his eyes on Moran at all times, noting that he did not dispose of anything as he tried to flee the scene. Garda Cahalane said Moran was wearing the same jacket that day, and was wearing a dark tracksuit at the time. “I am 100% certain it was Moran I got. My eyes never left him once,” he told the court, though he said “visibility wasn’t fantastic.”
In interviews, Moran said he was driving in Garryowen that day when his car “blew up” and that he was on foot for the rest of the day. Asked why he ran from gardai, he said it was because there was a warrant out for his arrest, he was due to pay fines and “I don’t like ye”.
Gardai could not recall if he was wearing gloves at the time, but there was no evidence of fingerprints inside the car when a forensic examination was carried out.
In the witness stand, Moran said he had an argument with his girlfriend after they bought two breakfast rolls and two bottles of Coke at a station on the Dock Road, and then dropped her back to her mother’s house in Moyross.
He denied he was in Rossa Avenue, where the car was taken, but said he was in Garryowen. He claimed he was talking to a person in the car and fled when he saw gardai, because “I was in a bad mood and didn’t want to get pulled in for the night”. The judge said he was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt he was in the car.