Woman dragged 30 metres along road during handbag robbery, court hears

Woman dragged 30 metres along road during handbag robbery, court hears
Photo: Criminal Court of Justice, Dublin

Eimear Dodd

A man has been handed a four-year prison sentence for the robbery of a handbag, during which the victim was dragged alongside a car.

Gerard Hughes (25), of Kilmartin Park, Tallaght, Dublin 24, pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and one count of endangerment at Crumlin Road, Dublin, on July 28th, 2019.

Hughes got out of the passenger seat of a car, then took the victim's handbag. She resisted and was dragged beside the car on a road, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.


Imposing sentence on Wednesday, Judge Martin Nolan said this was a “serious robbery”.

“To drag someone up the street as he and the other man did is a serious matter.”

He imposed a four-year sentence in relation to the robbery count, with the endangerment count taken into consideration.

CCTV footage

CCTV of the incident was played in court, with the footage showing a white car pulling up beside the victim, who was standing on the footpath.


Hughes then got out of the passenger seat and grabbed the woman's bag. She resisted, trying to hold onto her bag while Hughes got back into the car. The vehicle drove away and dragged the woman alongside it for 30 metres.

Garda John Hennehan told Noel Devitt BL, prosecuting, that the victim tried to hold onto her bag as it contained valuable items including her passport. These items were never recovered. A number of people witnessed the robbery and the victim being dragged alongside the car.

A medical report was handed into the court, which stated that the victim suffered some grazing, scratches and a chipped tooth.

Gda Hennehan said the victim had declined to make a victim impact statement as she wants to forget about the incident.


Hughes was later arrested by gardaí in relation to this incident. He made no admissions during interview, but said he had been taking valium and cocaine at the time.

Previous convictions

Hughes is currently serving a two-and-a-half year sentence. He has a number of previous convictions including for possession of stolen property and road traffic offences. A breakdown of his previous convictions was handed to Judge Nolan, but not read out in court.

Gda Hennehan agreed with Sarah-Jane O'Callaghan BL, defending, that Hughes' guilty plea was valuable to the prosecution and that her client had been courteous in interactions with gardaí.

The investigating garda said he was not aware of Hughes' family background, but accepted that Hughes' drug addiction was at the root of his offending.

Ms O'Callaghan put it to the investigating garda that her client finds it difficult to watch the CCTV footage and is embarrassed by his actions. Gda Hennehan agreed with Ms O'Callaghan that Hughes appeared to display remorse for his actions during this incident.

Ms O'Callaghan said this offending appeared to have been “highly opportunistic”.

“No one could have foreseen the bravery of the victim” who “hung on for dear life”, Ms O'Callaghan said.

Judge Nolan noted that Hughes could have let go of the victim's bag.

Ms O'Callaghan said her client had no recollection of these events, but indicated to his legal team that he would not seek a trial on these counts.

Drug addiction issues

Her client has drug addiction issues and wishes to seek residential treatment.

She told the court that Hughes' brother had been murdered when he was a child and an attempt was also made to kill his father.

Her client had been diagnosed with ADHD and a report was handed into the court on Hughes' behalf.

Hughes's partner, who is pregnant with his second child, and sister were present in court to support him.

Ms O'Callaghan said Hughes had been a talented footballer with a scholarship to Shamrock Rovers, but an injury sent him “down the drugs route”.

A letter of apology from Hughes was also handed to the court. Ms O'Callaghan said her client wished to offer a “deep apology” and asked Judge Nolan to be as lenient as possible.

Judge Nolan said this would have been a “frightening, terrifying and traumatic experience” for the victim.

He noted that Hughes has a “relevant and serious” record of convictions.

Taking the mitigating factors into consideration, Judge Nolan imposed a four-year sentence to run consecutive to the sentence Hughes is currently serving.