08 Aug 2022

Court hears Offaly man said he had Covid and spat blood at gardai

Accused also breached protection order by following woman on Facebook

Court hears Offaly man said he had Covid and spat blood at gardai

Man jailed for nine months at Tullamore District Court

A MAN who spat blood at gardai and told them he had Covid-19 was jailed for nine months on Wednesday, February 10.

David McBride, 22, of 42 Carraig Ean, Edenderry, also pleaded guilty to breaching a protection order by telling his former partner he would punch her head off and contacting her through Facebook.

Tullamore District Court was told by Mr McBride's solicitor, Donal Farrelly, that the accused, who had 48 previous convictions, now wanted to go to prison.

Sergeant David Scahill said the blood-spitting incident occurred on August 13 last year at 42 Carraig Ean, home of the defendant's aunt Aine Donoghue.

Garda Kenneth Allen, Garda Enda Kenny and Garda Adrian Phelan all received bloodstains on their uniforms, said Sergeant Scahill.

On October 8 last year when gardai were called to the same address, it had been reported to them that Mr McBride was present in possession of a firearm.

When gardai attended the scene the accused was very intoxicated but there was no firearm.

Aware that he was wanted in relation to the breach of a protection order in Tullamore, he was arrested and when he resisted he lashed out at Garda Denis Glennon, headbutting him to the face, causing slight swelling.

Sergeant Scahill said Mr McBride, who was highly agitated, attempted to bite Sergeant Gary Ryan on numerous occasions while in the car and he had to be restrained again at St Mary's Road, Edenderry on the way to the Tullamore station.

The court was told by Sergeant James O'Sullivan that a protection order granted to a woman in Tullamore was first breached on the day it was made, July 15 last year, when the accused threatened to punch the head off his partner and called her a rat.

On July 25 he contravened the order by contacting her by mobile phone and on September 5 he contravened the order again by following her, liking a photo and making comments on Facebook.

The court heard the man had 48 previous convictions and the most recent one dated from Tullamore Circuit Court on February 28, 2019 when he was sentenced to five years in prison for assault, causing serious harm.

That sentence was suspended for seven years. He also had previously received a two-year sentence, suspended for five years, for intimidating a witness and other convictions included public order offences, handling stolen property and criminal damage.

Defending solicitor Mr Farrelly said his client had experienced appalling circumstances in his childhood, having an alcoholic mother who had been incarcerated herself.

He had serious mental health problems arising from that and things became more difficult when he lost a child in January last year with his then partner.

At the time of the offences before the court he was living with his aunt but was not taking his medication and he could not really remember the incidents with the gardai. He ended up in hospital in Portlaoise for a number of days.

The solicitor said relations with his former partner became strained after the loss of the baby and when he began a new relationship.

He moved to live in Monaghan with a 25-year-old mother of two and they had a very good relationship.

He had paid a considerable amount of compensation in relation to the matters which came before the Circuit Court, the solicitor said, adding that attempts were being made to get him treated in Cuan Mhuire.

Mr Farrelly also outlined how during a previous spell in prison, Mr McBride was beaten up and had to spend 23 hours in full lockdown when he fell foul of other men who were in dispute with a cousin of his.

That exacerbated his serious mental health condition. He was now in custody in Cloverhill, where he had suffered a further assault, and wished to be sentenced to the Midlands Prison.

A prison officer present in court said he was unaware of the assault.

Mr Farrelly also handed in a letter from his client's aunt and photographs of his injuries which were taken when he was treated in Tallaght hospital.

“He's got a lot of problems,” said Mr Farrelly.

Considering her sentence, Judge Catherine Staines read the letter and though the defendant's aunt had “written certain things”, Mr McBride had pleaded guilty to saying he'd punch a lady's head off and called her a rat.

Judge Staines said she knew Mr McBride for a number of years and his aunt Aine knew she had done her best to help him.

She accepted that the accused's upbringing had been affected by his mother's severe alcoholism but he had received a suspended sentence and committed very serious offences afterwards.

He had committed very serious offences under the Domestic Violence Act and made serious attempts to assault gardai, though she accepted he may have been out of his head on alcohol during the encounters with the gardai.

She said she had huge sympathy for Mr McBride but the offences were very serious.

“This behaviour is just not acceptable and the public have to be protected from this kind of behaviour,” she said.

She imposed a three-month sentence for the domestic violence offences and six months, to be served consecutively, for the assault on Garda Glennon.

The other charges were taken into consideration and recognisances were fixed for an appeal.

Mr McBride must also appear before Tullamore Circuit Court on March 9 next and Judge Staines said the judge there, Judge Keenan Johnson, must be made aware of the offences which had come before her.

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