Man arrested after trying to set garda and Garda station on fire

Suspect arrested after spraying flammable liquid around Newbridge station on Monday

A man in his late 20s walked into the station and sprayed a flammable liquid, believed to be petrol, around the premises and onto himself and a young Garda member who tackled him. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

A man in his late 20s walked into the station and sprayed a flammable liquid, believed to be petrol, around the premises and onto himself and a young Garda member who tackled him. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

A man has been arrested after apparently trying to set himself and a garda on fire with petrol in the public area of Newbridge Garda station, Co Kildare, on Monday night.

A man in his late 20s walked into the station and sprayed a flammable liquid, believed to be petrol, around the premises and onto himself and a young Garda member who tackled him.

Gardaí are investigating reports the man filled up a detergent spray bottle with petrol before going to the Garda station carrying the bottle and a cigarette lighter.

Supt Martin Walker of Newbridge said the incident began at about 9pm on Monday when gardaí received a call about a man acting suspiciously at the Londis shop in the Moorefield area. There were reports the man had “filled up a container with petrol”.

“A short time after that he actually presented at the Garda station; didn’t engage in conversation at all, but he was carrying a detergent spray container in one hand and in the other hand he was carrying a cigarette lighter,” Supt Walker told KFM’s Clem Ryan on the Kildare station on Tuesday morning.

“He started to spray the entire public area of the Garda station . . . and also onto his hands which was very worrying. Two probationers [trainee gardaí] immediately ran around and they confronted him, at which stage he sprayed one of the guards and then tried to set him on fire with the spray of the petrol and the lighter.

“But fortunately, between the two of them they were able to subdue him and he was subsequently arrested,” he said, adding he was relieved the incident had ended without injury given the risks involved.

Supt Martin Walker said the suspect is a 29-year-old homeless man from the Newbridge area and a self-harm motive for the incident was suspected. After being arrested he was brought to Lakeview Unit at Naas General Hospital. The suspect was being detained under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act on Tuesday morning.

In reply to queries, Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park, Dublin, said an investigation was under way and a suspect arrested “following an incident of criminal damage and assault” at Newbridge station.

“At approximately 9pm yesterday evening, a man entered the public office of Newbridge Garda station and began to spray a liquid, believed to be petrol, from a container on the environs and onto himself and Garda members. Gardaí restrained the man as he attempted to light the liquid. No physical injuries were reported.”

Members of the public who need emotional support are asked to contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or Pieta House on 1800 247 247. People in distress can also text the word Help to Pieta House on 51444.