Armed crime-spree suspect has eight convictions

Dublin man spent time in prison for robbery, carjacking and petrol bombing

Eyewitness footage captures the moment that Gardaí arrest a man in connection with an armed spree in the Tallaght area of Dublin. Video: Padraig O'Reilly

 

The man suspected of an eight-hour armed and drug fuelled crime spree in Dublin on Monday once turned himself in to the Garda to help solve his friend’s killing.

The 37-year-old Dubliner and a friend carried out a robbery at knifepoint on a shop in the city almost a decade ago during which his accomplice was stabbed to death by a man who intervened.

And while the suspect in custody last night for yesterday’s unprecedented crime spree in west Dublin managed to flee the scene at the time, he gave himself up so he could help the Garda bring a prosecution for his friend’s manslaughter.

He was jailed for his own role in the knifepoint robbery, but his evidence also led to a manslaughter conviction against the youth who had stabbed his friend.

Gardaí believe he was under the influence of both alcohol and cocaine when he assaulted his partner at her home on Brookview Way, Tallaght, just before 6.30am yesterday.

Hijackings

Through the course of the next eight hours he would steal or hijack six vehicles, assault one homeowner with the butt of his machine gun and point the firearm at the head of a car salesman.

He was eventually caught yesterday afternoon after the final car he used was disabled by Garda intervention and he ran through the crowded Citywest Shopping Centre with his firearm.

Armed gardaí were pursuing him and others were waiting where he exited, along with shocked members of the public and the media who were recording video and images of the incident.

Gardaí had circulated a detailed description of the suspect, whose behaviour seemed to have been triggered by the attack on his partner, and warned members of the public not to approach him.

When jailed for four years after giving himself up so he could help bring his robbery accomplice’s killer to justice, he had already had a long litany of previous offending.

He had eight previous convictions in Ireland and in the UK. They include an eight-year sentence from Oxford crown court for robbery and carjacking.

He was also jailed for three years for criminal damage with a petrol bomb and seven years for four robberies – both from Dublin Circuit Criminal Court – in 2000 and 1999.

A heavy drug user who has been addicted to drugs for long periods in his life, the suspect was being detained at Tallaght Garda station last night.

He was being held under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act and can be questioned for up to 72 hours without charge.