A man was dragged underneath the getaway car of a burglar he had just caught stealing from his van leaving him with third degree burns, 11 missing teeth and a head injury, a court has heard.
Mervyn Heffernan (then aged 48), a carpenter, was in a premises getting supplies when he spotted Daniel Maughan (aged 24) at the side of his van. He and his colleague ran out and Mr Heffernan stood in front of Maughan’s own vehicle as he tried to flee the scene.
The victim’s colleague later told gardaí he saw Mr Heffernan standing in front of the vehicle holding his arms up in the air. He said the man may also have hit his hands off the bonnet of Maughan’s car before he disappeared out of sight.
The man then heard workers from the shop he and Mr Heffernan had just been in shouting “stop the fucking car, stop the fucking car” before Maughan jumped out, said “sorry, sorry” and ran off.
Detective Garda Karl Smith told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that a number of people came out to lift the car off of Mr Heffernan. He had no memory of the incident but he had been dragged under the car for about 30 yards before Maughan stopped it.
A phone that had been left behind in the vehicle was traced back to Maughan and his DNA was found on a pair of gloves and a screwdriver also found in the car. A number of items that had been stolen from Mr Heffernan’s van were found in the boot.
Maughan of Carton Road, Poppintree, Ballymun, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to endangerment at Dublin Airport Logistics Park, Finglas, on December 7, 2015. He has 56 previous convictions including dangerous driving, assault and more minor road traffic offences.
Judge Martin Nolan noted from a victim impact report that Mr Heffernan had neurological deficiencies, such as problems with his memory, but had returned to work.
He accepted that Maughan had not intended to hurt him and said his “only ambition was to escape the situation”.
Judge Nolan said Maughan appeared “sincere in his ambition to reform” before he jailed him for four years and disqualified him from driving for five years.
Det. Gda Smith said Mr Heffernan does not remember anything until he woke up in hospital a week later. He had third-degree burns down one side of his body, had 11 missing teeth with damage to a further three teeth.
He said Mr Heffernan paid out €20,000 in dental work to date and spent almost a month in hospital.
Det. Gda Smith agreed with Fiona Murphy SC, defending, that Maughan had not intended to hurt Mr Heffernan and “the minute he realized what had happened, he jumped out of the car”.
He accepted that he was “genuinely remorseful” and his motivation behind the theft was to pay off a cocaine debt.
Ms Murphy told Judge Nolan that her client had since addressed his drug difficulties while on remand in prison and that he was “shocked and disgusted” at the injury and hurt he caused.
She handed in a number of references and a letter of apology from Maughan. She said he was now completely clean of drugs having engaged with addiction counselling while in prison.