No extra jail time for man who hijacked Donegal woman’s car

Central Criminal CourtA man who hijacked a woman’s jeep as her nine-year-old child was in the back seat has avoided having his time in jail extended.

The victim, 37-year-old Bernadette Moran, is the wife of the Donegal football team doctor.

She was in Dublin with her three children for an All-Ireland quarter-final match in Croke Park when 21-year-old Christopher Coakley pulled her out of her jeep and tried to drive away.

Judge Desmond Hogan sentenced Coakley to three years which is to run alongside a three year sentence he is serving for a firearms offence. This was backdated to December 5 last when he was taken into custody.

Coakley of Belvedere Place pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to hijacking the jeep at Mountjoy Square on August 5, 2012.

Garda Carl Byrne told the court that Ms Moran had stopped the jeep and was waiting as two of her children played in the park across the road.

She looked in the rear-view mirror and saw someone running towards her. Coakley then pulled open the door and told her to "get out”. Ms Moran was able to grab her phone before getting out of the jeep.

Coakley got in the driver seat and was trying to operate the gears as Ms Moran pleaded with him to let her get the nine-year-old child from the backseat.

Coakley was trying to accelerate with the handbrake and Ms Moran used the opportunity to get the child seconds before the jeep sped off.

The vehicle was found abandoned shortly afterwards and a fingerprint on the door led to Coakley’s arrest the following month.

Defence counsel Lorcan Staines said Coakley was one of the most problematic youths the State has dealt with. He offered his client’s apologies to the victim and said that Coakley accepts a significant jail term is unavoidable.