Teen jailed for Garda ramming deaths

A teenager who killed two gardaí when he rammed a stolen sports car into their patrol vehicle was jailed for eight years today.

A teenager who killed two gardaí when he rammed a stolen sports car into their patrol vehicle was jailed for eight years today.

Raymond Dowdall, aged 18, pleaded guilty at the Circuit Criminal Court to causing the deaths of Michael Padden and Anthony Tighe on April 14, 2002.

The officers died immediately as the impact of the stolen Mazda MX5 flung their patrol car into the air where it somersaulted, hitting two sets of traffic lights before landing.

Dowdall, from Galtymore Road, Drimnagh was under the influence of hash and ecstasy, and was banned from driving, during the incident, which happened at about 6.30am in the morning.

He had 42 previous convictions and has been remanded in custody since the crash.

The court heard how, after burgling a house and taking the car keys, he drove at speeds of up to 130mph through red lights, on the wrong side of the road and swerving around roundabouts in the wrong direction before hitting the patrol car in Stillorgan, south Dublin.

In sentencing Dowdall, aged 16 at the time of the incident, Judge Desmond Hogan, said he was in no doubt that it was nothing but a criminal act of bravado.

“His driving was deliberately criminal, a danger to other drivers and to the public on the road, which regrettably culminated in the deaths of two very fine people who were doing their duty.

“I have no doubt that he knew what he was doing and why he was doing it,” he said.

The court heard that Garda Padden, 27, died from multiple injuries due to the ferocious impact of the car.

The young officer joined the force in 1997 and was in a long-term relationship with a Canadian woman who has since left Ireland to go back home, her life “totally destroyed”.

Justine Reilly, his first cousin, said he was the most courteous and good natured man.

“He was only 27, he had a beautiful life ahead of him with lots of dreams and plans. Every family occasion and celebration will now be tinged with sadness because Michael will not be there.”

Garda Tighe, 53, had been a policeman for 32 years and was married with four children.

His wife, Irene, told the court her life, and her family’s lives, had been destroyed.

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