Man on major drink bender called gardaí 'pigs' then crashed car into Cork station

Man on major drink bender called gardaí 'pigs' then crashed car into Cork station
Dunmanway Garda Station. Photo: Andy Gibson.

A DUNMANWAY man who verbally abused gardaí as pigs and crashed his car into the front door of his local garda station while on a major drinking bender over a period of days, was given a two-year prison sentence today.

However, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin took into account the six months the accused had spent remanded in custody and he suspended the balance of the sentence.

John Murray, aged 40, of Derragh, Dunmanway, Co Cork, had the sentence of two years backdated to October 24, 2019, when he went into custody and the remainder of the two years was suspended for two years on condition that he would comply with the directions of the probation service.

Murray was also banned from driving for two years.

Paula McCarthy, defence barrister, said the accused went drinking heavily following the death of his father and behaved in this manner.

She said that while he was abusive and threatening during the incidents he did not become physically confrontational.

Ms McCarthy said he was a hardworking man and his family supported him.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said he could understand a lot of the background but said: “I can’t understand why he centred his madness on the guards. That connection escapes me.

“To make matters worse there was the one day and then he came back the next day. Whatever was going on in his head was unhealthy and it was fuelled by drink.”

Murray first crashed his car into the front door of the local garda station and the next day he carried a bottle of brandy into the building where he insulted gardaí as pigs and threatened to kill one officer.

He pleaded guilty to damaging the station, threatening to kill Garda Heather Chandler, and dangerous driving.

Detective Sergeant Kevin Long testified that Garda Chandler was on duty on October 2 last year when she heard a loud bang outside the station. 

A Volkswagen car had been driven into the front door.

CCTV showed the driver getting out of the car and throwing the keys at the garda station before leaving.

The following afternoon, John Murray returned and kicked in a door of the public office.

He caused damage to the office phone and CCTV camera in the public office.

Det Sgt Long said, “He had a bottle of Hennessy in his hand. He came towards (Garda Chandler) and said, ‘you f***ing pig guard’.

“She retreated through the corridors of the station and he followed her saying, ‘You f***ing pig guard, I will kill you pig guards.’ She shouted at him and he did so.”

Shortly afterwards in the Square in Dunmanway, Murray approached Garda Martin Hanley and made more comments about pig guards. He was carrying a bottle of brandy.

Garda Hanley wrestled it from him and arrested him, Det Sgt Long said.

Det Sgt Long said there had been no animosity from the defendant towards gardaí before this incident.

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