Fresh allegations  | 

Builder who posed as cop and assaulted woman faces new probe for impersonating garda

Gardai caught up with him a short time later but he was not arrested at that stage.

Ken Foy

A 33-year-old man who was convicted earlier this month of trying to get a woman into his car in the middle of the night by pretending to be a garda is also being investigated for another alleged incident of impersonating a garda.

Earlier this month Dublin man Declan McGowan pleaded not guilty to the attempted coercion of Ms Andra Calauz, assaulting her, impersonating a member of An Garda Síochána and assaulting Mr Daniel Ion causing him harm.

After a four day trial at Dublin Circuit Court, a jury took just short of three hours to return guilty verdicts on all four counts.

Judge Patricia Ryan remanded McGowan in continuing custody until June 17, when a sentence hearing will take place.

McGowan who is currently on remand in Cloverhill Prison is also being investigated for impersonating a garda during an incident in Athy, Co Kildare last May when he was involved in a road traffic collision.

It is understood that after the car accident happened, he told the driver of the other vehicle that he was an off-duty garda but when she asked him for identification he sped away from the scene.

Gardai caught up with him a short time later but he was not arrested at that stage. However the case remains under “active investigation.”

McGowan who had been living in Athy and working as a builder has been in custody since the terrifying incident in Kimmage last September.

McGowan told gardai that he pulled his car up alongside the woman who was walking on the Kimmage Road Lower in Dublin city on the night of September 18 last year because he thought she was in danger.

Andra Calauz told the trial that she on the phone having an argument with her husband who was in their nearby home. McGowan told her he was a garda and had a gun in the car, told her she was beautiful, took her hand and kissed it and hugged her.

She said she felt frightened and pressurised by McGowan and that he repeatedly told her to get into his car.

Her husband Daniel Ion said that when he arrived on the scene, McGowan started choking him with one hand and Ms Calauz began crying. He said McGowan was shouting at him to go back inside to his children or he would call Tusla and they would be taken away.

He said McGowan was "screaming" at his wife to get into the car. He said he felt at the time that McGowan was either a corrupt cop or “a dangerous man". He said he told McGowan two or three times to let his wife go and said to his wife that, whatever happens, she should not get into the car.

Mr Ion called gardaí who arrived within minutes and arrested McGowan.

After his arrest, McGowan told gardaí that the woman had told him that she was in danger, that her husband kept her locked in the apartment and she didn't want to go back there. Both Mr Ion and his wife denied these suggestions in their testimony to the trial.

McGowan told gardaí that when Mr Ion arrived on the scene, he struck his wife in the face. McGowan claimed he only restrained Mr Ion to prevent him from attacking the woman again.

John Moher BL, prosecuting, said that Mr McGowan's account was fantastical. He said that when the defendant's efforts to get the woman into his car were interrupted by her husband's appearance “he flew into a rage” and assaulted the man.

McGowan also has a previous conviction for a vicious assault.

He was previously given a three year suspended sentence and ordered to perform 60 hours community service after he was convicted of assaulting a student in Dublin city centre who later required 41 stitches to his head.

The trial heard the victim in that case required brain surgery and suffered from bleeding within the skull after he was assaulted by McGowan in May, 2011.

McGowan, who is an amateur boxer, was reduced to tears when shown photos of his victim’s injuries and vowed never to punch anyone again.

He told gardai: “If I had of known it would come to this, I never would have touched him.”

"I'm not a vicious person; I'm not a bomb waiting to blow up,” McGowan told the Irish Independent after that case concluded in May, 2013.

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