Tallaght crime spree sparked by cocaine-induced ‘paranoid psychosis’

Suspect was heavily under influence and became convinced his partner was unfaithful

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

 

A man who went on a crime spree in west Dublin in which he stole or hijacked six vehicles while armed with a gun was motivated by the erroneous belief his partner was being unfaithful to him.

Garda sources said the suspect had been up all night drinking and taking cocaine and appeared to slip into what one source termed a “paranoid psychosis”.

He first became embroiled in a domestic dispute at his partner’s home in Tallaght early on Monday morning. He flew into a rage and accused the woman of being unfaithful.

“It appears that he was completely paranoid and that he plucked something out of the air as the focus for it,” said one source.

Gardaí believe he was heavily under the influence of drugs when he took her car and crashed it before going on an armed crime spree for the following eight hours.

The same sources said they believed the man continued to take drugs during the day when a manhunt was under way in a bid to find him.

Detectives are trying to establish where the man sourced the machine pistol he had in his possession.

However, they believe he had access to the firearm before his crime spree and that the gun was not sourced specifically for it.

Heavily intoxicated

The man was so heavily intoxicated that it was not until earlier on Tuesday that he could be properly interviewed.

He is facing a number of criminal charges including the illegal possession of a firearm, aggravated armed break-in with a firearm and also threatening a car salesman with his firearm by pointing it at his head.

The suspect, a 37-year-old from Tallaght, has a lengthy criminal record and long history of drug use. He was detained at Tallaght Garda station under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.

He is expected to be brought before the courts and charged before his 72-hour detention period expires.

The incident began at about 6.20am on Monday when the man attacked his partner at her home on Brookview Way, Tallaght.

He hijacked or stole several more vehicles over the next eight hours. The final vehicle he was in was rammed by gardaí and he then tried to escape on foot.

However, when he ran through Citywest shopping centre armed with the gun, he was overpowered and arrested by gardaí, including both armed and unarmed members.

Almost 10 years ago when he was carrying out a knifepoint robbery in Dublin his accomplice was stabbed to death by a passer-by.

While he escaped on the day he surrendered himself to the Garda and admitted his role in the robbery so he could assist the manslaughter prosecution of the young man who had intervened and killed his robbery accomplice. He was jailed for four years for his own part in the robbery.