Heroin addict told gardaí he wanted to go back to prison

A heroin addicted father of two told gardaí he hijacked a woman's car just after she put her infant child in the vehicle and then tried to rob a pharmacy because he wanted to be put back in prison.

Darren Osbourne (aged 37) allowed the woman to take her three-year-old child out of the car after he pointed an imitation firearm at her while demanding the keys but ran away when he couldn't start the vehicle.

Osbourne also claimed he was in fear of his life and defence counsel, Mr Feargal Kavanagh SC asked Judge Frank O'Donnell that if he were to be remanded in custody he wanted to be placed in the Midlands Prison where he could be put in 24 hour lockup for his own protection.

Mr Kavanagh handed a document into court which he said Osbourne claimed was "a threatening letter" that he received in the post.

Osbourne of Rushenny Village, Hartstown pleaded guilty to unlawfully seizing control of a car on the Blakestown Road in Blanchardstown and to attempted robbery and production of an imitation firearm at Blanchardstown Village Pharmacy, on November 24, 2006.

Judge O'Donnell at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court remanded Osbourne on continuing bail and adjourned the case to next month.

Garda Jim McDevitt told Mr Paul Greene BL, prosecuting, that staff at the pharmacy were able to overpower Osbourne and his co-accused when they raided the shop wearing scarves over their mouths.

Gda McDevitt said that a student garda who happened to be passing at the time assisted the staff and held the raiders until he arrived and took them into custody.

Osbourne and his accomplice had hailed down a taxi to bring them to the pharmacy after his failed hijack of the woman's car. He had threatened to shoot her with the imitation weapon if she didn't give him the keys.,

Gda McDevitt said Osbourne had 29 previous convictions which were all dealt with in the District Court and involved road traffic and theft offences. His co-accused is still awaiting trial.

Gda McDevitt agreed with Mr Kavanagh (with Ms Martina Baxter BL) that Osbourne was intoxicated at the time of his arrest and gardaí were not able to interview him for a number of hours as a result.

He accepted Osbourne was somebody - "be it deluded or not" - who believed his life was in danger from "others" and told gardai he committed the offences because he wanted to go back into custody.

Gda McDevitt further accepted that Osbourne had taken "small steps" to deal with both his heroin and alcohol addictions.

Mr Kavanagh told Judge O'Donnell was "sorry" for his actions that day. He said Osbourne was twice involved in serious road traffic accidents which left him with significant head injuries.

He needed re-constructive surgery following a motorbike accident in 1996 and had been knocked down as a four-year-old child.

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