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Kerry man lathers body with butter to evade capture by gardai during home siege

Charles Bronson covered himself in butter to evade capture
Charles Bronson covered himself in butter to evade capture

A 35-year-old man, who stripped off and lathered his torso with butter after barricading himself into his house with a large knife, has been handed a suspended sentence.

Father-of-two Michael Rooney, from O’Connell Avenue, Listowel, Co Kerry, had broken most of the furniture in the residence he shared with his partner, in an outburst which was fuelled by alcohol and medication.

During the “very frightening incident” Rooney imitated the famous butter scene from the 2008 film ‘Bronson’, about the UK’s most notorious inmate Charles Bronson.

In a move, which the court heard was “completely out of character”, Rooney stripped off to the waist and lubricated himself with butter in order to evade capture by gardai.

When officers arrived they found the defendant barricaded into the property, completely covered in butter, roaring “come on ye bastards” and wielding a 14-inch kitchen knife.

Gardai emptied two rounds of pepper spray subduing the greasy, marauding man.

Tralee Circuit Criminal Court heard that officers found it difficult to arrest and handcuff the defendant because of the butter.

Rooney pleaded guilty last year to three counts in relation to the incident.

These were threatening to kill two gardaí - Sgt Tim O’Keeffe and Garda Colin McCarthy - and to having a knife, on October 20th, 2014.

The court was told that he had done much “to rehabilitate himself”, written a letter of apology and given up drink since.

His barrister Katie O’Connell said his partner and their two children were still with him.

Judge Thomas E O’Donnell said that Rooney had been in a very drunken state and had caused considerable damage to his home.

He had barricaded himself against gardaí, covered himself in butter - “something he had seen in a movie” - and said “I am going to kill ye bastards.”

He waved the knife at gardaí.

“The accused was subdued and arrested with difficulty due to the fact he had covered his body with butter,” the judge said.

Rooney, who was unemployed at the time, had been drinking out of boredom and was on medication, a psychiatrist’s report detailed.

Judge O’Donnell said: “This was a very frightening incident.”

Violence was threatened and a weapon was involved “and the butter aspect did not help in any respect”.

The judge also noted that: “gardaí feel this behaviour on the day was totally out of character for the accused. He has no previous convictions.”

Rooney was sentenced to two years on each of the three counts, to be served concurrently, but backdated them to May 2015, when he had pleaded guilty, and suspended the sentence for two years, binding him to the peace.

In closing Judge O’Donnell told him: “Mr Rooney I am giving you a chance… I don’t want to see you here again.”