Prisoner who head-butted garda in patrol car jailed

A garda was head-butted by a prisoner in a patrol car who also threatened to chop him up and yesterday he was jailed for five months for what the judge described as a vicious assault.

Thomas Higgins, aged 31, of St Vincent’s hostel, Anglesea St, Cork, was convicted of four separate charges arising out of the incident, namely being threatening, being drunk and a danger, refusing to leave the scene of a disturbance and most seriously, assaulting Garda John Deasy.

Judge Olann Kelleher said, “I accept he did not intend to carry on like this but we cannot have this in the city — guards being assaulted and threatened when they are protecting the people of Cork.”

Inspector Ronan Kennelly said the incident occurred on February 8, 2015. Garda Deasy and Garda Marie Courtney responded to a call at 8.20pm about a man acting in an aggressive and threatening manner at Grangewood Court.

Insp Kennelly said: “He was given ample opportunity to desist from his behaviour and leave the area. However, he increased the intensity of his abuse and was arrested and conveyed to Togher garda station.

“En route to the station he continued to be abusive. Then on South Ring Road Thomas Higgins went silent. Suddenly, he lunged with his head at the head of Garda Deasy, striking him in the right-hand side of this face causing bruising and tenderness.

“He made another effort to the same thing but was restrained by Garda Deasy until they arrived at the station.

“As a result of the assault, the injured guard was unable to work for a period of four weeks.”

Insp Kennelly said the accused had 29 previous convictions including counts for public order and assault.

Frank Buttimer, solicitor, said the accused had a longstanding difficulty with substance abuse.

However, he said that, over the past 12 months the defendant’s record had been fairly clear as he had managed to keep himself out of trouble.

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