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Frightening Builder who pretended to be garda to get woman into car in middle of night is convicted

The woman's husband 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'

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immage Road Lower. Photo: Google

immage Road Lower. Photo: Google

immage Road Lower. Photo: Google

A builder has been convicted of trying to get a woman into his car in the middle of the night by pretending to be a garda and intimidating her.

Declan McGowan (33) 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.

McGowan, of Branswood, Athy, Co Kildare, had pleaded not guilty to the attempted coercion of Ms Calauz, assaulting her, impersonating a member of An Garda Síochána and assaulting Mr Ion causing him harm.

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

Judge Patricia Ryan thanked jurors for their time. She remanded McGowan on continuing custody until June 17, when a sentence hearing will take place.

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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.

He said he told Mr Ion he was going to call the guards when Mr Ion threatened to shoot him. He said that he never told anyone he was a garda and said this may have been a misunderstanding because of a “massive language barrier”.

He denied ever kissing or hugging the woman.

Defending counsel Garnet Orange SC told the jury that the only thing his client did wrong was to make a foolish decision to act “the good Samaritan”.

“He made the critical mistake of placing himself between a husband and wife,” counsel said.

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.

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