Detectives shot at during car chase, court hears

Armed detectives continued a high-speed chase of a getaway car despite believing they had been shot at, eventually arresting two gunmen, a High Court judge was told yesterday.

Former Detective Garda John Duignan told Mr Justice Michael White that the occupants of the getaway car threw a white towel and a Walther pistol out of the vehicle after bursting two tyres on a traffic bollard.

Mr Duignan, now a private investigator, told a Garda compensation hearing that he and driver Garda Robert Lambert were in an unmarked patrol car in April 2009 when they received a message about a speeding car having left the scene of a shooting in the Drimnagh area of Dublin.

When they saw a black Audi A6 break red lights, they gave chase. After identifying the registration number, they switched on their blue lights.

“A shot was fired and Garda Lambert asked me if I thought it was meant for us,” Mr Duignan said. “I replied, ‘I would say so’ but we kept going.”

The Audi had burst two of its tyres when it struck a traffic bollard and, shortly afterwards, two items had been thrown from the car, a white towel and a Walther pistol with a bullet in the breech.

Mr Duignan, now living in Celbridge, Co Kildare, told his counsel, Aeden McGovern, they apprehended the two occupants who, in 2010, were each sentenced to eight years in jail.

In the Circuit Criminal Court in November 2010, Joseph Redmond, aged 33, of Kilworth Rd, Drimnagh, and David Roche, aged 26, of Abbotstown Avenue, Finglas, each pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing and discharging a firearm and being reckless as to whether a person was injured or not at Keeper Rd, Drimnagh.

The court had been told in 2010 that a woman sitting in her kitchen in Keeper Rd had heard a loud bang and, on investigation, saw a hole in her sitting-room window.

Duignan, who was awarded €31,000 damages against the State, told Judge White a heart condition he suffered from had significantly worsened after the incident.

He agreed with William Maher, counsel for the public expenditure and reform minister, that he had voluntarily retired from the force on the advice of his heart specialist to quit for reduction of stress on completion of 30 years’ service.


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