A notorious Garda killer accused of driving at another Garda just months after being released from prison has walked free after claiming he was at home in bed texting friends.
Jamie McGrenghan was sentenced to seven years in jail after pleading guilty to danegrous driving causing the death of Garda Robbie McCallion at Tara Court, Letterkenny in 2009.
McGrenaghan, who was released in 2015 having served just four years of a seven year sentence and banned from driving for life, appeared at Letterkenny District Court charged with dangerous driving.
The alleged offence took place in September, 2015, just months after he was released from prison for killing Garda McCallion.
The court heard how Garda Austin Marron was driving at Black’s Glen, Milford when he noticed a silver VW Golf travelling at great speed coming in his opposite direction.
The car was travelling so fast it shook his patrol car and so he followed it.
Garda Marron turned his car and parked his patrol car on the Shore Road in Ramelton.
He parked his car across the road at an angle so the car could not pass him.
He then told the court how he activated the flashing lights on the Garda car before attempting to get out of the vehicle.
The car accelerated as it came towards the Garda car but managed to veer away at the last minute and drove off at speed across Ramelton Bridge.
The Gardai pursued the car but Garda Marron said he believed the driver turned off his car lights and drive towards Rathmullan to evade capture.
The Gardai lost sight of the car and the car has never since been found.
Garda Marron said he was “one hundred per cent sure” it was Jamie McGrenaghan who was driving the car as it was just ten yards away from him at one stage.
He said he had met McGrenaghan “two to three times” but knew him as he had been stationed locally in Milford.
“I was about 10 metres away and I saw Jamie McGrenaghan. The car passed in front of me and I’m in not doubt it was him. I’m here today because I am one hundred per cent sure it was him,” said Garda Marron.
The accompanying Garda, Seamus Marley, told the court that he did not get a chance to see the driver of the car and did not make out the registration.
McGrenaghan’s mother gave evidence that she went out socialising at 10.30pm and returned at 1.30am but did not believe her son had left the family home.
When she returned she said he was in bed as she said she heard him coughing.
McGrenaghan said he never left his house on the evening of September 18th, 2015.
He said he spent the evening on Snapchat, Facebook and Viber and watched some television.
Mobile phone records were produced in court which showed that McGrenaghan sent a Viber message to a friend at 11.40pm stating that he was in bed.
Garda Inspector Goretti Sheridan that McGrenaghan would have had plenty of time to drive from his home at Gortnatraw, Fanad, which was 25 minutes away from Ramelton, to the scene of the alleged incident which happened at 12.22am.
Solicitor for McGrenaghan, Mr Gordon Curley said there was simply not enough evidence to safely convict his client.
He said that Garda Marron only got a fleeting glance of the driver of the car and he said that this was simply not enough for a safe conviction.
Judge Paul Kelly said identification cases were “notoriously difficult.”
He said that Garda Marron had his suspicion (that McBGrenaghan was driving the car) and added that he also had his own suspicions.
However, he added that Garda Marley, through no fault of his own, could not corroborate the evidence given by his fellow Garda.
Despite harvesting various CCTV footage of the event, it did not show who was driving the silver VW Golf.
He said he thought it was unsafe to convict McGrenaghan and he dismissed the case.