Man (20) jailed for car jacking, false imprisonment of couple in Cork city

Accused jumped into the car and put a knife to driver and threatened to stab him

Tyler Lewis pleaded guilty to possession of a knife, unlawful seizure of a car and false imprisonment of the couple  on the Grand Parade in Cork on July 20th, 2020. Photograph: Collins Courts

Tyler Lewis pleaded guilty to possession of a knife, unlawful seizure of a car and false imprisonment of the couple on the Grand Parade in Cork on July 20th, 2020. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A 20-year-old man has been jailed for six years after he admitted hijacking a car and threatening the occupants at knifepoint after they returned to their vehicle following a night out in Cork city centre earlier this year.

Tyler Lewis, a father of two from North Main Street, Youghal, Co Cork pleaded guilty to possession of a knife, unlawful seizure of a car and false imprisonment of the couple at the Park it Here open air car park on the Grand Parade in Cork on July 20th, 2020.

Garda Mary Bridget Enneguess told Cork Circuit Criminal Court how the couple, who were in their 30s, had come to Cork to enjoy a meal in the city and were having a cigarette by their car at around 7.30pm when they were approached by Tyler who asked them for a light.

They offered him a light but he had difficulty using the lighter because he was wearing yellow Marigold kitchen gloves which they thought strange but when he asked them what they were up to, they became nervous and got into their car only for Tyler to jump into the back seat.

The woman jumped out of the car but Tyler then produced a kitchen knife and threatened the woman that he would stab her partner if she did not get back into the car so she got back into the vehicle and Lewis ordered them to drive him to a location.

But before they could start off on the journey, the woman began to suffer a panic attack and Lewis jumped from the car and fled the scene. The couple contacted the gardaí and gave them a description of Lewis and he was arrested a short time later at Parnell Place Bus Station.

Remorse

Gda Enneguess said that gardaí obtained CCTV footage and established that Lewis had bought the kitchen knife and gloves at the Supervalu Shop in Merchants Quay and they later found footage of him changing his clothes off Washington Street and they recovered the knife in Bishop Lucey Park.

She said that Lewis was very intoxicated at the time of his arrest at Parnell Place and it wasn’t until the following day that he was deemed fit by a doctor to be interviewed. He made full admissions and expressed surprise at what he had done and what he had put the couple through, she said.

She said that Lewis, who had a heroin addiction and told gardaí he was trying to pay off a drugs debt, had a total of 31 previous convictions including ones for criminal damage, assault causing harm, possession of drugs for sale or supply and possession of a knife,

Defence counsel, Elizabeth O’Connell SC said that Lewis was badly addicted to heroin at the time but since going into custody, he had stabilised and had reduced his dependency on methadone and he wished to apologise and express remorse for his actions and the upset he had caused the couple.

Judge Sean O Donnabhain said it was a very serious offence where Lewis had approached two complete strangers at a car park in Cork city and in the process of engaging them in conversation when asking for a light, subjected them to a terrifying ordeal when he produced the knife.

“It’s entirely understandable that the victims were in fear for their safety because his behaviour was violent, dangerous and certainly bizarre - to be approached by a man wearing yellow kitchen gloves carrying a knife was extremely dangerous for them,” he said.

‘Definite constraint’

Judge O Donnabhain said the fact that Lewis had a background of addiction was not a mitigating factor and he also noted he had a considerable number of previous convictions and he noted he was currently on a suspended sentence from Mullingar Circuit Criminal Court.

“There is no downplaying the seriousness of this offence, the potential for further violence and the outrage and harm that he caused his two innocent victims – there was a definite constraint put on his two victims when he produced the knife and threatened them and denied them their liberty.”

He sentenced Lewis to six years in jail on the false imprisonment charge and four years concurrent for the possession of a knife and four years concurrent for the unlawful seizure of their vehicle and he backdated all sentences to July 20th last when Lewis first went into custody.