Judge unimpressed with knife threat on gardaí

A man who was on bail when he lunged at a garda with a Stanley knife has had his current prison sentence extended by six months at a recent sitting of Mullingar District Court.

Peter Murray (35 ) Riverside Lawns, Kinnegad is already serving a prison sentence for dangerous driving causing the death of cyclist Peter Farrell at Carbury, Kildare in September 2011.

“It’s a sad indictment of Irish society but it reflects the reality, that gardaí on all duties have to wear a stab vest,” said Judge Hughes, as he applied the obligatory consecutive sentence for offences committed while on bail.

“There’s nothing worse than anyone using a knife on a human being,” he said, after hearing how Murray lunged at Garda John Daly who answered a call from a distressed woman at Riverside Lawns, at around 1.50am on September 5 last.

The garda described how Murray was in a car but when gardaí approached him, he fumbled to get something out of his pocket.

When he got out of the car he came at the gardaí and attacked them with the open knife.

He had to be restrained by all three gardaí present and extra gardai were called.

It was the first time Garda Daly, who has been a member of the force for 28 years, has ever had to use his pepper spray, to protect himself and the two female officers with him.

Murray had to be restrained and hand-cuffed, and while he was on the ground he threatened gardaí that if they didn’t let him up, he would assault them.

He continued to be aggressive in the Garda station, but solicitor Patricia Cronin said she didn’t believe her client, a father of one, was capable of grievously injuring a garda.

There was a tense domestic background to the incident, she said, adding that Murray had been sleeping in his car.

He had the knife because he was a carpenter, she said, but Garda Daly said he saw no evidence of this.

Judge Hughes could understand a momentary lurch, but not the violent incident that followed, requiring three gardaí, pepper spray, and a threat of violence.

“We were brought up to have absolute respect for the uniform,” he said.

“You can have your fun but when the garda comes you stop. And those who don’t stop come before me,” he said.

Ms Cronin said her client was not from a family who disregarded the gardaí, and his mother and sister were in court.

“He’s still my son,” his mother said when asked by the judge if he caused much trouble.

Murray said he wasn’t thinking at the time of the incident, and Ms Cronin said he’s made huge efforts in prison to deal with his alcohol issues and has completed a relapse prevention course.

In December last year at Naas Circuit Court Murray received a five year sentence for dangerous driving causing death. The final two years were suspended.

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