Man jailed for taking child off street while ‘out of it’

David Ryan (28), of no fixed abode, quickly abandoned boy and took his chicken nuggets

A drug addict who was “out of it” when he took a six-year-old boy from outside a shop before leaving him minutes later and taking his chicken nuggets has been jailed for three years.

David Ryan (28), of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to intentionally or recklessly taking the child without consent at Liffey Street Upper on June 11th, 2015.

He has 112 previous convictions which were all dealt with in the District Court and include criminal damage, public order, theft and fraud offences.

Seán Gillane SC, defending, said the State had agreed the guilty plea was on the basis of reckless commission rather than intentional.


Garda Elaine Holmes told Noel Devitt BL, prosecuting, the young boy, who has Down syndrome, had been with his parents at a hospital appointment before his father took him out to Burger King to get food.

The man later left the child in a buggy facing into a shop before he went into it momentarily. He returned to find the boy was gone and called gardaí­ immediately.

Garda Holmes said a woman had spotted Ryan pushing the buggy with the little boy and could clearly see he was "out of it". He then abandoned the child outside Arnotts and she contacted the security staff in the shop to raise the alarm.


The child had been reunited with his father within 10 or 15 minutes. Arnotts staff had gone through CCTV footage and gardaí­ had a description of the culprit before Garda Holmes met the father.

She then spotted Ryan walking towards her with his eyes closed and arrested him immediately. Ryan was initially too intoxicated to be interviewed but later told gardaí­ “if it was me I am very sorry for what I did”.

A victim impact report said the boy had been upset at school the next day but otherwise there had been no significant knock-on effect.

Mr Gillane described it as “every parent’s worse nightmare”.

He said it was very evident his client had been “out of it”, that he took the chicken nuggets from the child and moved on.

Mr Gillane said he hoped the child’s father would take some comfort from the knowledge the boy had been under the observation of a passerby at all times and she had remained there after Ryan walked away.

Ryan had written a letter of apology for “the hurt and pain” he had caused the boy and his family.

Judge Melanie Greally said that for those 15 minutes the boy's father had no idea what had happened. She added that "the anguish, fear and terror that accompanied those minutes must have been extreme".

She acknowledged the child was never in any danger and Ryan never bore him any malicious intent.

“It arose out of the fact that you were manifestly out of it and that you had not been acting in a deliberate and conscious way,” Judge Greally told Ryan.