A Swords man who threatened to kill a prisoner officer and his children after being refused a 'McDonald's' dinner has been sentenced to five years in prison by Judge Patricia Ryan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Paul O’Shea (aged 20) with addresses at Owensilla and at Silloge Avenue, Ballymun had played hurling for the Dublin minor team when he was 15-years-old but that came to an end when he started taking tablets at 16.
He had taken four sleeping tablets when he told prison officer Derek Bray he would shoot him and his family, that he was going to cut him up and would have someone waiting for him who would follow him home and kill him and his children.
O'Shea pleaded guilty to assaults on prison officers Bray and Paul Byrne at Swords Courthouse on May 17, 2006 and to threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Mr Bray.
He also admitted to attempted robbery of an off-license and theft of €200 from Superquinn in Northside Shopping Centre on February 11, 2006.
O’Shea also pleaded guilty to robbery of €375 from the Shell Service Station in Glasnevin on March 10, 2006, which was committed while on bail for the assault on the prison officer.
He had 21 previous convictions mainly for sending indecent messages by telephone, criminal damage, threatening abusive or insulting behaviour and possession of knives.
Judge Ryan sentenced him to two years for assaulting the prison officers and a consecutive three year jail term for the Glasnevin robbery. She suspended the final three years on condition that O'Shea keep the peace and be of good behaviour when released from prison.
She said she had taken into account a psychiatric report which indicated that at the time of the offences O’Shea was deeply affected by the recent deaths of an aunt and a best friend.
Judge Ryan said she had also considered O'Shea's deep remorse for his attack on the prisoner officers and his co-operation with the subsequent garda investigation.
Garda Conor Tumbleton agreed with defence counsel, Mr John Fitzgerald BL, that gardai accepted it was an overdose on sleeping tablets that caused him to behave in this manner and that he had passed on O'Shea's apologies to the prison officers who had accepted them.
Gda Tumbleton also agreed with Mr Fitzgerald that if O'Shea stayed off tablets he would be unlikely to come before the courts again.
Gda Tumbleton told prosecuting counsel, Mr Michael Bowman BL, that O'Shea was under the prison officers' supervision as he was being escorted from Swords Garda Station to Swords District Court.
O'Shea demanded to eat art McDonalds and when that was refused attempted to head butt Mr Bray who managed to avoid it but he then successfully head butted Mr Byrne.
He then told Mr Bray he would shoot him and his family before kicking him in the groin and continued to threaten him in this manner while being restrained by the prison officer.
He was then taken to a solicitor's room in the courthouse where it took a number of gardaí and Mr Byrne to calm him down. When Mr Bray came into the office he launched a flying kick at him and told him he would have someone waiting outside for him who would follow him home and kill him and his children.
Gda Tumbleton said when O'Shea was later interviewed by gardai he said he had taken four sleeping tablets that day and had no recollection of the incident, claiming he had blanked out.