Man jailed for trying to drive away with woman's car while her baby was still inside

Anthony Gannon (34) came running towards the jeep while Maria Lee O’Farrell was taking the baby’s pram out of the boot, so she could go into the grocery store.
Man jailed for trying to drive away with woman's car while her baby was still inside

Sonya McLean

A man who tried to drive away in a woman’s jeep while her five-week-old son was still in the vehicle has been jailed for two and a half years.

Anthony Gannon (34) came running towards the jeep while Maria Lee O’Farrell was taking the baby’s pram out of the boot, so she could go into the grocery store.

He pushed her out of the way and ran towards the driver’s seat, but the woman managed to stop him.

She shouted at him “no, no, my baby” and Gannon ran off.

The woman got back into the vehicle and was trying to lock the doors when Gannon appeared again at the boot.

He ran to the driver’s door and tried to pull the woman from the driver’s seat.

Garda Conor Gurn told Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, that people nearby saw what was happening and came to the woman’s assistance.

She managed to get the vehicle started and was putting it into reverse, but Gannon remained standing at her door.

The passers-by managed to pull Gannon away from the jeep and hold him onto the ground where he remained until Gardaí arrived.

Gda Gurn said Ms Lee O’Farrell later told gardaí that she was in fear for her safety and that of her baby son.

She had torn her jeans and cut her legs in the initial struggle and had bruising to her arm. She said it was the worst thing that had ever happened her.

Gannon of Huntstown Rise, Mulhuddart, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Ms Lee O’Farrell causing her harm at Aldi, in Mulhuddart Village, Dublin on February 14th, 2017.

Gannon has 23 previous convictions, 15 of which were committed before the offence and the remaining eight have been committed since. He has no convictions for assault.

Expiriencing psychosis

Gda Gurn accepted a suggestion from Gannon’s defence team that Gannon was clearly experiencing some sort of psychosis at the time of the attack.

The garda said Gannon had been spotted by staff and customers in Aldi moments earlier, running up and down the aisles topless.

CCTV footage of the incident in the carpark and Gannon’s behaviour in the shop was shown to the court.

Judge Melanie Greally said Gannon’s horrifying actions towards Ms Lee O’Farrell were “apparent from the CCTV footage”.

She said there was “little doubt” that he was in the throes of psychosis at the time but said this was induced by his own consumption of drugs that day.

She accepted that Gannon had a history of mental health difficulties and a long-standing addiction to substances including cannabis.

Judge Greally said Gannon “was fully intent on taking control of the car” and said the intervention of the people nearby prevented this.

She said the victim impact statement was “very succinct” and outlined the physical injuries Ms Lee O’Farrell suffered “in her efforts to resist his efforts”.

The judge noted that the woman has ongoing issues and suffers from anxiety and panic attacks which need to be managed with medication.

Judge Greally accepted that Gannon has since made efforts to address his addiction and has engaged with psychiatric assessments in a positive way. “He appears to be stable,” she said.

She sentenced Gannon to three years in prison and suspended the final six months on strict conditions including that he engage with the Probation Service for 12 months on his release from prison.

Keith Spencer BL, defending, told Judge Greally that his client has made a number of attempts to end his life and though he reported that he was hearing voices on the day, he does not suffer for a personality disorder.

Counsel said his client has engaged with counselling and is dealing with his drug addiction. He acknowledges that he needs intervention and help, Mr Spencer said.

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