'Torture' | 

Man ‘targeted a vulnerable female’ in attack where she was tied up and gagged, court hears

The court had earlier heard evidence that the woman was tied up with duct tape at her hands and feet and was knocked unconscious

Maurice Fitzgerald

Robin SchillerIndependent.ie

A 29-year-old man has been remanded in custody after being charged with an attack on a woman in Dublin over the weekend during which she was allegedly tied up and gagged with duct tape before being knocked unconscious.

Maurice Fitzgerald, of Abbeyview in Buttevant, Cork, appeared before a special sitting of Dublin District Court this evening where he was charged with four offences relating to the incident near the city centre on Saturday.

The defendant is accused of falsely imprisoning and assaulting the woman causing her harm at Meeting House Lane, Dublin 7, on August 27.

He is also charged with two counts of possession of an article, relating to a claw hammer and duct tape, at the same location on the same date.

Mr Fitzgerald initially made a bail application but later withdrew it during the course of gardaí outlining their objections.

The court had earlier heard evidence that the woman was tied up with duct tape at her hands and feet, had it placed across her mouth to gag her, and was knocked unconscious.

In his objection to bail Gda Pat Hynes, of the Bridewell Garda Station, said it would be alleged that the accused "targeted a vulnerable female" and that he "selected an isolated laneway" where he assaulted her "causing her to become unconscious".

Gda Hynes said that Mr Fitzgerald had travelled to Dublin from Cork on the day of the incident and messaged four females seeking to meet up.

The accused, the court heard, also purchased a new claw hammer and three rolls of duct tape upon arriving in the capital.

Evidence was given that he also had two condoms, a passport, a bank card and a spare change of clothes in his possession and did not have accommodation booked.

Gda Hynes continued that one witness reported seeing a male dragging a woman up a laneway and out of site before hearing the sound of duct tape.

A second witness heard a female scream "get away from me" and "leave me alone" before hearing a man shout "shut up".

Gda Hynes said that when gardaí arrived at the scene they observed Maurice Fitzgerald "dragging" the tied up female underneath a parked car "in an attempt to hide her".

He added that the accused attempted to flee and was "extremely violent and aggressive during the course of the arrest".

Gda Hynes continued that the female victim had to be cut free from the duct tape and told gardaí that he "boxed the head off her".

The court also heard she told gardaí: "He didn't rape me, but it was torture".  

The prosecuting garda also said that there was CCTV footage of the alleged incident.

This, he said, showed the victim being tied up by her ankles, being dragged to an area behind a parked car, and being dragged underneath the vehicle when the area is lit up by the lights of an unmarked patrol car arriving on scene.

Gda Hynes said the CCTV had both visual and audio recordings and that he intended to play it to the court as part of his bail objection.

However, at this point Mr Fitzgerald's defence solicitor intervened and informed the court that her client would not be making an application for bail.

An application for free legal aid was granted by judge John O'Neill and the accused, who did not address the court during the hearing, was remanded in custody to appear before Cloverhill court on Friday, September 2, via video link.

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