A TAXI driver who was forced to drive across the city at knife-point by a convicted rapist, has described the ordeal as the “most traumatic event of his life”.
Pat Dillon (51) made his comments in a victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing of one of the two young men who “car-jacked” his taxi last year.
Earlier this year, Aaron Maloney, aged 20, with an address at McGarry House, Alphonsus Street, Limerick pleaded guilty to the unlawful seizure of Mr Dillon’s taxi on January 26, 2013 - the day of his 19th birthday.
The second culprit - Hugh Kavanagh, 19, of Shannonmore Park, Clareview, has since died from a suspected drugs overdose.
During a sentencing hearing, this Wednesday, Judge Carroll Moran was told both men flagged own the taxi being driven by Mr Dillon at St Nessan’s Road, Dooradoyle and initially asked to be taken to a shop at Father Russell Road. Later they asked to be taken to Sixmilebridge and then onto Cratloe.
Detective Garda Pat Whelan said after around 40 minutes Mr Maloney, who was in the rear seat, produced a knife and held it to the back of the driver’s neck.
At the entrance to Cratloe Woods Mr Dillon was then ordered to drive back to the city by Maloney who said “it ends here”.
During the journey back which lasted for around 15 minutes, the men claimed they were members of the IRA who were going to ‘carry out a hit’ the following day.
At one point, they also claimed they were transporting illicit drugs.
Det Garda Whelan told John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting that during his ordeal Mr Dillon had recalled an incident in the eighties during which a taxi driver from Limerick was abducted and found murdered in Cratloe.
In his victim impact statement, the 51-year-old grandfather said he has lost trust in people since and that he now drives with his doors constantly locked.
He said he suffers from anxiety as a result of the incident and also has flashbacks and disturbed sleep patterns.
“My life has changed insurmountably I will never completely get over this incident.” said.
In mitigation, Brendan Nix SC, said his client comes from a troubled background and that he had been let down by the State.
He said Mr Moloney had been celebrating his birthday on the night and had been drinking and smoking cannabis prior to the incident.
Imposing sentence Judge Moran noted the defendant’s previous convictions for rape and false imprisonment were committed when he was a minor and that they were linked to his troubled family background.
He imposed a six year prison sentence, suspending the final two years.