A 36-year old remorseless paramedic who assaulted two female first aid students when he placed them in a choke hold six years ago was today described as ‘timid’ by a retired Garda.
At Ennis Circuit Court today, retired Garda, Peadar Daly said that Andrew Long was “a bit on the timid side” and “very courteous”.
Mr Daly served 21 years as a Garda in Mr Long’s native east Clare village of Scarriff and he told the court “I didn’t consider that Andrew was capable of deliberately hurting anybody”.
Mr Long’s two victims, Mary Nihill and Elise McMahon sat at the back of the court as they heard Mr Daly say: “I was shocked when I heard he was in court for an assault complaint. He was one of the last persons that I expect to be involved in an assault and the local community would agree.”
Providing character testimony for Mr Long from the witness box, Mr Daly said that a custodial sentence “would serve no purpose and destroy Andrew”.
The court was told today that Mr Long of Carraig Dubh, Tobertaosceain, Ennis still maintains his innocence – earlier this year, Judge Gerald Keys refused Mr Long’s application to withdraw his guilty plea to assault causing harm of Ms Nihill during an evening Civil Defence first aid class at the Vocational Education Centre in Scarriff in March 2013.
Mr Long has also pleaded guilty to assaulting mother of three Elise McMahon who was pregnant at the time.
In court today, Judge Keys said that Mr Long has shown “absolutely no remorse. He is challenging that these events ever took place”.
Judge Keys said that Mr Long has made no mention of the two victims who have been profoundly affected by his conduct.
Judge Keys said: “At the time, Mr Long was in a position of trust. If he is coming into this court looking for clemency, he must show some remorse or concern for his victims who were deeply affected by his conduct.”
Mr Long rendered mother of one, Ms Nihill unconscious with his choke hold and in evidence, Ms Nihill told the court that after the incident “I was in shock. I thought I was in safe hands with a professional paramedic. He tried to knock me out – he did knock me out.”
In her victim impact statement delivered today, Ms Nihill said that having to testify during the trial “was the worst experience of my life and I found it extremely intimidating and brought back all the memories of the assault”.
Ms Nihill said that as a result of the assault “I no longer trust easily, am wary of men in particular and don’t like to be left alone with people”.
Describing the assault on her, Ms McMahon said: “My airwaves were cut off. I was conscious, but literally I couldn’t talk. I had no voice.”
In her victim impact statement, Ms McMahon told the court: “I did feel shock and disbelief of it occurring as well as shock and fear of telling someone and my unborn child along with the grip around my neck which I felt for days.
Counsel for Mr Long said that Mr Long’s job as a paramedic is now finished “and he believes that his career prospects are drastically slashed”.
Counsel asked that the court impose a suspended jail term on his client.
Counsel said that Mr Long’s fiance has three daughters and that TUSLA have become involved because of the matter before the court and Mr Long has suggested that TUSLA may forbid Mr Long to have any contact with his fiance’s three daughters.
Judge Keys remanded Mr Long on continuing bail for sentence to April 30th.