A DUNMANWAY man who verbally abused gardaí by calling them ‘pigs’ and crashed his car into the front door of his local garda station while on a major bender of drinking over a period of several days, was sentenced to two years in jail last week.
But the judge, Seán Ó Donnabháin, took into account the six months the accused had already been remanded in custody and he suspended the balance of the sentence.
The sentence of John Murray, 40, of Derragh, Dunmanway, was backdated to October 24th – the date he went into custody. The rest of the sentence was suspended for two years on condition that he would comply with the directions of the probation service.
Murray was also banned from driving for two years.
His barrister Paula McCarthy said the accused went drinking heavily following the death of his father and the committed the crimes.
She said that while he was abusive and threatening during the incidents, he did not become physically confrontational.
She also said that he was a ‘hardworking man’ and his family supported him in behaving properly.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said he could understand a lot of the man’s background. But he added: ‘I cannot understand why he centred his madness on the guards. That connection escapes me. To make matters worse, there was the one day and then he came back the next day. Whatever was going on in his head was unhealthy and it was fuelled by drink.’
The court heard that the Dunmanway man crashed his car into the front door of the local garda station and the next day he carried a bottle of brandy into the building where he insulted gardaí calling them ‘pigs’ and he also threatened to kill one officer.
Mr Murray pleaded guilty to damaging the station, threatening to kill Garda Heather Chandler, and to dangerous driving.
Detective Sergeant Kevin Long testified that Garda Chandler was on duty on October 2nd 2019 when she heard a loud bang outside the station. She saw that a Volkswagen car had been driven into the station’s front door.
On examination of CCTV, the driver was seen getting out of the car and throwing the keys at the garda station before leaving.
The following afternoon the same man, Mr Murray, returned and kicked in a door of the public office.
He caused damage to the office phone and CCTV camera in the public office.
Det Sgt Long said: ‘He had a bottle of Hennessy brandy in his hand. He came towards (Garda Chandler) and said, “you f***ing pig guard”. She retreated through the corridors of the station and he followed her, saying: “You f***ing pig guard, I will kill you pig guards.” She shouted at him to leave the station and he did so.’
Shortly afterwards in the Square in Dunmanway, the defendant approached Garda Martin Hanley and made more comments about ‘pig guards’. Mr Murray was carrying a bottle of brandy.
Garda Hanley wrestled it from him and arrested him, Det Sgt Long pointed out.
Det Sgt Long told the judge that there had been no animosity from the defendant towards gardaí before this incident.