An Allenwood man was sentenced at Kildare Circuit court last Friday for a vicious assault on two gardai that left both of them in fear of their lives and requiring surgery.
Anthony Quinn was jailed for three and a half years by Judge Terry O’Sullivan on Friday, March 31.
In the course of the unprovoked attack, Mr Quinn punched both Detective Christina Brady and Sargent James Kelly in the jaw.
Both feared their lives were in danger during the attack, the court heard, and at one point Detective Brady felt the defendant try to grab the holster of her gun.
“I hoped he would have shot me first so that I wouldn’t have to watch him shoot Sgt Kelly,” her victim impact statement read.
The incident occurred on June 13 last in Robertstown.
The two gardai had travelled to the village in an unmarked Garda car to investigate an incident that had occurred in the area the previous night.
On their way out of the village, as they approached Mylerstown Cross, they spotted a car being driven by Mr Quinn, 27, whose address is listed as Bluetown, Allenwood.
The car was heading back into the village.
The gardai turned and followed him but, noting that he was driving very fast, decided not to give chase or to engage the blue lights.
When they got back to the village they discovered that the car had crashed into a pub and the female passenger was injured and in some distress.
Soon after, they spotted Mr Quinn and approached him. They felt he was intoxicated.
He was aggressive and lashed out and punched Sgt Kelly in the jaw, with such force that the garda felt his legs unstable under him.
Sgt Kelly said he was in fear of his life, and was trying to turn his attentions to the injured woman.
The defendant told them: “I’m going to take the heads off you and I’m going to kill you.”
Detective Brady tried to deter the defendant but was also struck into the right of her jaw by his left hand.
The court heard that she was crouching down and as she did so she could feel his hand on her side, and on her holster which contained her firearm, a 38 calibre Smith and Wesson.
“I feared for my safety. I believed that if he had gotten it he would have used it.”
She put her hands on the holster, crouched as low as she could and moved around the Garda car.
Later that day, gardai arrested the defendant at Naas General Hospital where he was visiting his girlfriend.
The case was investigated by Inspector Patsy Glennon, Sgt Dara Diffley and Detective Des McHale.
Both Gardai sustained lasting injuries to their jaws and had ongoing pain.
They were required to have surgery under full general anaesthetic on their jaws and were out of work for four months, and when they returned to work, were on restricted duty.
In his victim impact statement Sgt Kelly described the attack as “vicious and unprovoked” and he noted that the possibly “catastrophic outcome” if Mr Quinn’s “attempt to take a loaded firearm from my colleague” had succeeded.
While Sgt Kelly’s jaw has recovered significantly, Detective Brady continues to suffer significant pain, described at one point as being seven on a scale out of 10, to such a degree that her doctors have expressed surprise and admiration that she is back at work.
She has received regular nerve blocks which are of help.
She is also receiving treatment for Post Traumatic Stress. In her victim impact statement, she described the incident as “difficult, traumatic and surreal”.
She had a belief that Mr Quinn would have killed both of them if he had gained access to her gun.
“I hoped he would have shot me first so that I wouldn’t have to watch him shoot Sgt Kelly,” her statement said.
Counsel for Mr Quinn, Willie Hughes said that while he did not wish to downplay the severity of the incident, or the Detective’s belief that his client could have taken control of the firearm, it is an offence in law to try to take control of a garda’s gun and his client was not charged with any attempt to do so.
Mr Quinn has previous convictions for possession of drugs, one for manslaughter and for obstructing police.
Originally from Tyrone, he had a traumatic childhood that included witnessing violence against his mother and his father being shot and jailed for eight years. He has used ecstasy, cocaine, diazepam and speed, sometimes all at once.
“He’s very concerned that he has no memory of it,” Mr Hughes said and apologised.
Judge Terry O’Sullivan said the gardai were met with an “extremely violent response”.
He noted the defendant’s difficult youth but made the point that neither of the injured Gardai could be blamed for that.
He sentenced him to three and a half years in prison, back dated for the nine months he has already spent in custody awaiting trial, and suspended the last six months.