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Horror kidnap role woman Aileen Gray freed on bail

Published 08/07/2015

A woman who was an accomplice in an horrific cross border kidnapping incident was freed on bail today so that a judge "can monitor your behaviour."

Freeing 28-year-old Aileen Gray at Newry Crown Court, Judge Kevin Finnegan QC said he was "certainly not prepared" to give her a suspended sentence today but that he would sentence her in six months for her breach of probation.

Last March Gray, from Cross Heights in Rathfriland, escaped being sent to jail but was ordered to complete 18 months on probation and 100 hours of Community Service after she pleaded guilty to false imprisonment of a woman who was abducted off the street in Dundalk in December 2012.

Her boyfriend at the time, 24-year-old Daniel Carroll, from Francis Hughes Park, Belleeks, Newry, is currently serving an eight year jail sentence after he admitted a litany of crimes including kidnapping, false imprisonment, sexual assault, causing actual bodily harm, driving while banned and without insurance, all on December 21, 2012.

With Gray behind the wheel of a car, the court heard how Carroll stalked his "very attractive" victim as she walked along the street before bundling her into the back seat where he rained punches on her head and used his full body weight to hold her down.

The young woman tried to escape but was hauled back and the car and drove over the border into Northern Ireland.

At one stage, their victim pretended to be dead and heard the couple "discussing what to do with her body if she died".

Jailing Carroll in June last year, Judge Finnegan described how his victim told him she was struggling to breathe, was asthmatic and needed her inhaler, but her pleas fell on deaf ears, adding that at one stage she "screamed" in an effort to get the attention of passing motorists but to no avail.

"The victim was subjected to an increased level of violence," said the judge, telling the court that Carroll grabbed his victim with one hand while punching her with the other.

When Gray got out and left, Carroll took over the driving and his victim "tried to befriend him", chatting to him and asking questions to "curb his aggression" until they got to Carroll's home, where he told her she could "sleep in any room she wanted".

The charge of sexual assault arose when he kissed her on the mouth and rubbed her thigh with his hand, but she pushed it away "and he accepted that", and even offered to give her a lift back to Dundalk.

The woman's ordeal, described by the judge as the "stuff of nightmares," ended and Carroll was arrested when he "left her alone for long enough" that she fled the house and managed to summon help from a neighbour.

The judge deferred passing sentence in Gray to March this year and imposed the combination order but he had heard that she has failed to comply with his orders so was subject to breach proceedings.

Today defence barrister Justin Byrne said her failure to complete the CSO was as a result of a "fairly severe enough" back injury but which he conceded had been sustained "some time ago and she accepts herself that the majority of symptoms have cleared up."

He also conceded that while Gray had been convicted of two offences common assault during the deferment period but claimed they were as a result of fights with people who had targeted her with taunts relating to the kidnapping.

He lawyer revealed that even whilst in prison, mother-of-two Gray had been subjected the "taunts and threats," adding that her first time in prison had been a harsh and "salutary lesson" for her.

"She's going to have to have coping mechanisms," said Mr Byrne, "if people are shouting at her or taunting her she will have to walk away or she will find herself in more and more serious trouble."

Releasing Gray on her own bail of £500 until January next year, Judge Finnegan said she now knew what a prison cell was like and that he was "glad to hear you did not enjoy it."

"Your behaviour between now and January is up to yourself," said the judge.

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