Man held pharmacy staff hostage in siege
A man who escaped from a Garda station went to a pharmacy the following day and held staff members hostage during a three-hour siege during which, in phone conversations with gardaí, he threatened to kill them and himself, a court heard yesterday.
The siege in Cashel, Co Tipperary, ended after the pharmacy was surrounded by gardaí and a member of the Garda Regional Support Unit fired a Taser shot at Gerard Browne through the front door. The Taser round connected with Browne, who was then overpowered by members of the unit.
Browne (30) of Cooleen’s Close, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, was sentenced to 12 years at Clonmel Circuit Court after pleading guilty to a number of offences including false imprisonment, robbery, aggravated burglary and escaping Garda custody.
Five years of the term was a suspended sentence for a separate offence to which he was subject at the time of the siege on June 26th last and is now activated.
John Peart SC, defending, told the court yesterday the siege scene resembled the movies Dog Day Afternoon and Bonnie and Clyde. The court also heard Browne had a number of scenarios in mind at the time of the siege, including wanting to be shot by a garda; bringing “tablets to prison and having a party”; and “going out in a blaze of glory”.
During the incident, Browne told pharmacist Michael Dalton to tie up staff member Zoe O’Connor. He then rang Clonmel Garda station and asked to speak to Det Sgt Seámus Maher.
He told Det Sgt Maher he had “nothing to lose” and was holding two hostages with a gun. “If things aren’t done my way, I’ll shoot one of them,” he said, adding that if he saw a garda outside the door he would “shoot myself and shoot one of them”.
Det Garda Dermot Fitzgerald told the court Browne broke into the constituency office of Tom Hayes TD in Cashel at about 2.30am on June 20th last and stole computer equipment while ransacking the property.