Prison for Westport man carried in stolen vehicle

Garda shot during high speed chase

A 20-year-old Mayo resident who allowed himself to be carried in a stolen vehicle whose other occupants were involved in a shooting incident has been given a two year sentence with the last 15 months suspended.

Stephen Collins of Lodge Road, Westport, who was 16 at the time of the offence, pleaded guilty to allowing himself to be carried in the stolen car on September 27, 2006 at Monasterboice Road in Crumlin, Dublin.

Sergeant Michael McNulty told Mr Colm O’Briain BL, prosecuting, at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that the car was stolen from outside a house in the Crumlin area on September 26, 2006.

Gardaí were on duty at Monasterboice Road preserving the scene where a shot had been fired from a gun during an unrelated incident in the early hours of the morning of September 27.

Sgt McNulty said he noted a car which appeared to be slowing down approaching the scene. He said Sergeant Mark Clarke approached the window of the car and a shot was discharged by the front seat passenger.

“The shotgun pellets hit Sgt Clarke in the chest and a high speed car chase ensued which ended when the Lancer collided with a Ford Fiesta at Mourne Road in Drimnagh,” Sgt McNulty said.

The front seat passenger, who was not Collins, brandished a gun at Garda Jacinta Gordon and then attempted to hijack a van but the shotgun was discharged and a bullet hit the roof of the van.

The driver of the car made his escape and Collins, who had been a back seat passenger, was arrested nearby by Garda Gordan.

Mr Paul McDermott SC, defending, said Collins had become depressed since his father died tragically when he was 15 and his “life disintegrated ever since”.

Judge Martin Nolan acknowledged that Collins, who has 17 previous convictions, was not involved in the shooting of Sgt Clarke but had allowed himself to be carried in a stolen vehicle.

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