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violent past First look at creepy Kildare builder who posed as garda to trick woman into car

Declan McGowan was previously convicted of assaulting a student in Dublin city centre who later required 41 stitches to his head

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Declan McGowan leaving court. Photo: Collins

Declan McGowan leaving court. Photo: Collins

Declan McGowan leaving court. Photo: Collins

A 33-year-old man who was convicted yesterday of trying to get a woman into her car in the middle of the night by pretending to be a garda and intimidating her has a previous conviction for a vicious assault.

Declan McGowan, of Branswood, Athy, Co Kildare, had pleaded not guilty to the attempted coercion of Ms Andra Calauz, assaulting her, impersonating a member of An Garda Síochána and assaulting her husband, 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 thanked jurors for their time.

She remanded McGowan on continuing custody until June 17, when a sentence hearing will take place.

It can be revealed that McGowan was previously given a three year suspended sentence by the same judge 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.

The victim told the court hearing in 2013 he did not want McGowan to go prison and described him as “a culprit with a conscience”. The pair shook hands outside Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

After the assault on Grafton Street, McGowan who then lived in a flat on North Circular Road, Dublin, told a nearby paramedic what happened.

He also rang the hospital and a journalist who wrote about it to check on Mr Carter's condition.

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.

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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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Scar on the side of the head of assault victim. Photo: Courtpix

Scar on the side of the head of assault victim. Photo: Courtpix

Scar on the side of the head of assault victim. Photo: Courtpix

McGowan said years of being bullied and witnessing a vicious assault in Cyprus several years ago in which a man was kicked to death may have caused him to lash out.

McGowan said he "struggled with being misunderstood" his whole life and had found school difficult. However he had "come out the other side shining"

After receiving the suspended sentence for the assault, it is understood that McGowan did not come to major garda attention until 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.

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