Europe

Dundalk man who rammed burglar with car acquitted

An Irish businessman has been acquitted of assaulting a burglar who he hit twice with his car, breaking both his legs.

Martin McCaughey, a 48-year-old property developer from County Louth, was cleared of the offence by a jury.

Mr McCaughey was also critical of his insurance company who paid the burglar, 27-year-old Daniel McCormick, 175,000 euros for his injuries.

At an earlier hearing McCormick was given a three-year suspended sentence.

The court heard that after waking to find McCormick coming out of the en-suite bathroom of his Dundalk home at 05:30 GMT on 27 June 2008, Mr McCaughey chased him in his wife's car.

"My intention was never to do damage to him," he said in an interview with RTE radio.

After tracking him down to a neighbouring estate he said he did not intend to ram him, but just to box him in until the police got there.

"I had no shoes on me. I had no clothes on me, only boxer shorts. I remember hitting him but my mind drew a blank then," he said.

"Imagine if I hadn't been in the house and it was just my wife and three children. What would have happened? That still goes through my mind today. Would he have run?" Mr McCaughey said.

The businessman added: "He wouldn't have had two broken legs if he wasn't in my house."

Asked if he would do the same again he answered: "I was determined that this man had to be caught. If someone broke into my house again I would want them caught."

Mr McCaughey was also very critical of his insurance company.

"It's absolutely disgraceful that an insurance company would pay out that sort of money," he said.