Garda Daniel Cowman confirmed under cross-examination by Marjorie Farrelly, defending, that the man had shown no regard for his own life on the day. He had consumed a litre of Southern Comfort liqueur before the series of events.
Shane Dineen, aged 21, of St Vincent’s hostel, Anglesea Terrace, Cork, was sentenced to a total of six years, with the last 18 months suspended, and banned from driving for 20 years by Judge Donagh McDonagh at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday.
“This was a mad escapade across Cork,” said Judge McDonagh.
The stolen Volkswagen Gold was driven at high speed from Douglas through Rochestown to Passage West in rush-hour traffic, crossing to the wrong side of the road, mounting a footpath where families were walking, and later ramming a Garda car.
Garda Daniel Cowman described what happened at around 5pm on Thursday, July 2. Dineen refused to stop when gardaí indicated for him to do so at the fingerpost in Douglas.
“First he stopped but when I got out of the patrol car he drove off at speed on the Rochestown Rd,” said Garda Cowman.
Detailing the driving that occurred between Douglas and Passage West, Garda Cowman said that on Rochestown Rd, Dineen drove on the footpath to get away from the patrol car with no regard for pedestrians or other road users. A woman walking on the footpath had to jump out of the way at one stage as he drove at speed on the path.
Gardaí put a garda patrol car on the road in Passage West to force Dineen to stop, but instead he rammed the vehicle and later rammed another parked car.
Judge McDonagh noted that someone was in the car at the time when that final collision occurred.
The judge said that a person with suicidal ideation did not have the right to put innocent people in danger.
Gardaí had to rescue him when he ran from gardaí in handcuffs and jumped in the river at Passage.
Judge McDonagh accepted that the accused had been failed by the foster care system — going through 20 different placements and then sent off “with a pat on the back at 18”. His father died as a result of heroin use when the defendant was 11 and his mother died in similar circumstances a year later.