A drug addict stabbed a now retired garda who confronted him with a chair when he robbed a post-office but was then stopped and held with the aid of two members of the public, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.
Jason Campbell (aged 26) of Donomore Crescent, Tallaght will be sentenced by Judge Michael White in February for this offence and a series of other armed robberies committed in October and November 2004.
Detective Garda James Donegan, now retired, was subsequently awarded the Scott Medal for his bravery in trying to thwart the knife-wielding Campbell at Glenview Post Office, in Glenview Park, Tallaght.
Campbell had held a knife to a customer’s neck and demanded money be placed in the Dunnes Stores bag he had brought with him. The cashier gave him €5,030 before he tried to get away.
Det Gda Donegan , who was off duty heard the commotion while in a neighbouring pharmacy, took a chair from the pharmacy and rushed to the post office shouting "gardai!".
Campbell rushed at him holding the knife at chest height and managed to push the chair away. He stabbed Det Gda Donegan in the side and pushed past him onto the street outside but was chased by him and another off duty garda who had been in the post office at the time of the robbery.
With the aid of two passers they managed to catch Campbell and hold him on the ground while he struggled violently, until garda reinforcements arrived.
Campbell pleaded guilty to six armed robberies of banks, post offices and a credit union.
He grabbed pensioner Miss Marion O’Hanlon by the neck and held a knife to her throat when he raided the Permanent TSB in Stillorgan in November 2004 but, as he was demanding money from the cashier, Miss O’Hanlon broke free, cutting her hand on the knife, severing several tendons.
She ran to the door of the bank just as Campbell was making his escape through it with over €8,000 and fell, breaking her wrist. Judge White heard that she has never regained full use of her hand.
Campbell used a replica Colt revolver when with two other men he escaped with €5,500 from the AIB Bank in Celbridge in November 2004. All three wore high visibility jackets with scarves covering their faces and the others were armed with a hammer and a screwdriver.
The court heard that Campbell had a significant drug problem but had taken steps while in custody to deal with the addiction, although he had broken the terms of bail granted to him in February this year to allow him to attend a residential drug treatment programme.