Garda recounts events which lead to his colleagues death

A Garda has revealed the terrifying moments before a car smashed into his patrol car and killed his colleague.

Garda Bernard McLaughlin revealed how a car being driven by Martin McDermott “came like a rocket” before it hit them head-on in Burt in December 2009.

24-year-old Garda Gary McLoughlin, died in hospital the following day as a result of his injuries.

Garda Bernard McLaughlin told Letterkenny Circuit Court how he and Garda McLoughlin had been alerted to a pursuit between an unmarked patrol car and a Vauxhall Astra car on the main Letterkenny to Derry road around 1.15am on December 13th.

Garda McLoughlin revealed he and his colleague were trained in operating the Garda ‘stinger’ but were told it was too dangerous to deploy it.

Instead they were told to simply get the registration number of the red Vauxhall car.

As they drove towards Letterkenny at Lisfannon near Burt, Garda McLaughlin said he noticed a car coming towards them ‘like a rocket.”

Garda McLaughlin said he remained conscious at all times during the crash.

He says he looked over at his collegue and he appeared to be slumped over and seemed lifeless. He called out his name, but there was no repsonse.

The crash happened when the car being driven by McDermott had been pursued by Garda detectives in an unmarked car for more than 30 kms reaching speeds of up to 170kph after it was seen coming out of The Grove Petrol station in Bridgend.

He travelled to Newtowncunningham and then back towards Derry before it crashed with Garda McLoughlin’s patrol car at Lisfannon.

The trial before a jury of 8 women and four men is expected to finish before Judge John O’Hagan today