A 35-year-old man, who covered himself in butter to make it more difficult to arrest him, has been given a suspended sentence for wielding a large knife and threatening to kill two gardaí.
Michael Rooney, a father of two from O’Connell Avenue, Listowel, Co Kerry, stripped to his waist and was wearing only jeans to better apply the butter, a previous court was told.
He said he had been imitating a scene from a 2008 movie Bronson — a film based on a notorious UK criminal — and had been drinking heavily and had been on medication at the time.
His behaviour on the day was “out of character”, the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee was told at his adjourned sentence hearing, yesterday.
Gardaí were called Rooney’s house after he had broken most of the furniture in the home he shared with his partner.
He had barricaded himself into the house, jammed two chairs against the door, stripped and applied the butter.
He waved a 14-inch knife and roared at gardaí: “Come in ye bastards… “
The gardaí had to to use two rounds of pepper spray before eventually subduing him and found it difficult to arrest and place handcuffs on him because of the butter on his body.
Rooney pleaded guilty last year to three counts in relation to the incident — threatening to kill two gardaí, Sgt Tim O’Keeffe and Garda Colin McCarthy — and also admitted to having a knife on October 20, 2014.
He had also quickly written a letter of apology and had given up drink, and had done much “to rehabilitate himself”, the court was told.
His barrister, Katie O’Connell, said his partner and their two children were still with him.
Recalling the evidence, Judge Thomas E O’Donnell said the accused had been in a very drunken state and had caused considerable damage in his home.“The accused was subdued and arrested with difficulty due to the fact he had covered his body with butter,” the judge said.Unemployed at the time, and previously having worked in the UK, he was drinking due to boredom, and was on medication, a psychiatrist’s report had detailed.
“This was a very frightening incident,” said Judge O’Donnell.
“Violence was proffered and a weapon was involved and the butter aspect did not help in any respect.”
However, he noted there was genuine remorse and “gardaí feel this behaviour on the day was totally out of character for the accused.
“He has no previous convictions,” Judge O’Donnell said.
Judge O’Donnell sentenced Rooney to two years on each of the three counts, concurrently, but backdated to May 2015 when he had pleaded guilty and suspended the sentence for two years, binding him to the peace.
Judge O’Donnell said: “Mr Rooney, I am giving you a chance. I don’t want to see you here again.”