'One of Limerick's most violent criminals' awaiting sentence

A 27-year-old Limerick man who violently assaulted two gardaí while in custody, has been described by a senior member of the force as one of "the most violent criminals in Limerick city".

A 27-year-old Limerick man who violently assaulted two gardaí while in custody, has been described by a senior member of the force as one of "the most violent criminals in Limerick city".

Detective Sargeant Eamonn O'Neill was giving evidence at the sentencing hearing of Wayne Dundon, who last month was convicted of threatening to kill a 19-year-old barman at Brannigans pub in Limerick city on December 19 last.

Ryan Lee was injured after he was shot twice later that night but no one has ever been charged with the shooting.

Wayne Dundon, Lenihan Avenue Prospect, was convicted by a jury last month of threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Mr Lee.

The court heard that Dundon made the shape of a gun with his hand and putting it to the barman's head said "f**K you, you're dead" after he refused to let his 14-year-old sister Annabel Dundon into Brannigans bar.

Dundon has also been convicted of assaulting two gardaí while he was custody being questioned about the incident at Brannigans.

At his sentencing hearing today, Judge Carroll Moran was told that one of the gardaí, Detective Garda Arthur Ryan, has not been able to return to work since he was assaulted by Dundon on December 22 last.

The court heard that Det Garda Ryan was punched several times in the face by Dundon and is still undergoing medical treatment for injuries to his teeth and jawbone. He is also receiving counselling and is not expected to return to duty for "some time", the court heard.

Garda Brendan Casey, who was punched twice by Dundon during the same incident, described the accused "violently hitting" Det Garda Ryan.

The court heard that Dundon began "lashing out" while he was being questioned about the threat against 19-year-old Ryan Lee - a barman at his family's pub on Mulgrave Street in Limerick city.

Judge Moran was told that Mr Lee and is family are still receiving garda protection since the incident as gardaí believe "the threat is very alive and is out there".

Det Sgt Eamonn O'Neill told the cout that the night after the jury was sworn in for Wayne Dundon's trial last month, Mr Lee's girlfriend received a threatening letter.

The letter, which was read out in court, was addressed to Mr Lee's uncle and legal guardian Steve Collins, the proprietor of Brannigan's pub.

According to Det Sgt O'Neill, the author of the letter threatened to attack Mr Collins's staff and his business and also warned him "to look at all the other people that's dead".

The court heard that Ryan Lee is still trying to get over the incident last December, and that his whole life has been "thrown into turmoil".

"Had it not been for the support of his familiy he'd be going through a very tough time. His bravery has to be admired for the way he's dealt with this," said Det Sgt O'Neill.

The court heard that Wayne Dundon - who sat in court listening to a walkman during today's proceedings - has a number of previous convictions both here and in the UK.

A brother of Dessie Dundon - one of five men currently serving a life sentence for the murder of Limerick crime boss Kieran Keane - Wayne Dundon has never had a job and is married with one child, the court heard.

His convictions in the UK date back to 1996 and relate to offences including the robbery of a wheel-chair bound man and a 90-year-old woman at her home in London.

His previous convictions in Ireland date back to 2001 and include a conviction for threatening a prison officer in a public toilet of a Limerick shopping centre.

Dundon has also served prison sentences for handling stolen property, dangerous driving offences and for a charge of assault causing harm.

When asked to describe the 27-year-old Det Sgt Eamonn O'Neill said in court: "He (Dundon) is one of the most violent criminals I have ever come across during my time in Limerick city."

Defence Counsel for Dundon, Brian McInerney (BL) said his client "apologised unreservedly" for the assault on the two gardaí - the video of which was shown in court yesterday. Mr McInerney added that his client would be appealing his conviction for the threat against Ryan Lee and pointed out to the court that Mr Dundon had never been charged in connection with any shooting.

The defence counsel also noted that there were more than 30 members of the Garda Síochana present in court today, even though there were only 11 mentioned in the Book of Evidence.

Judge Carroll Moran described the case as "very serious" and adjourned sentencing until Friday morning.

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