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'Wild' man with 30 previous convictions who head-butted garda is jailed

'Wild' man with 30 previous convictions who head-butted garda is jailed

A Dublin man who head-butted a garda while resisting arrest for a public order offence has been sentenced to two-and-half years in prison.

David Murphy (25) of Wheatfield Avenue, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Garda Dara Kelly during the course of his duties in Rathfarnham on March 1, 2014.

Murphy has four previous convictions for violent behaviour in a garda station and a previous conviction for assault. He has 30 other previous convictions for various offences.

Gda Kelly was later treated in Tallaght Hospital for soft tissue damage to the left side of his jaw and other cuts and bruises. He had restricted movement of his jaw for four days and took ten days off work.

A victim impact report was handed into court but not read out.

Judge Martin Nolan said Murphy behaved disgracefully.

“Gardaí have a difficult task. They have experience in dealing with difficult people but he (Murphy) was not just drunk, he was also violent and aggressive,” the judge said before he noted Murphy’s past convictions of violence towards gardaí.

He sentenced Murphy to two-and-a-half years in prison but suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions. 

Sergeant Brian Flynn told Fiona McGowan BL prosecuting, that gardaí were called to attend at a GAA club in Templeogue after a fight at a party.

They spotted Murphy and another man forcing their way out of a fire escape door and followed them after the pair refused to stop when ordered to do so.

Gardaí later stopped the men coming out of the garden of a house but Murphy became aggressive when they went to arrest him.

Sgt Flynn said Gda Kelly and his colleague managed to put the men into the back of the patrol car but that while en-route to the station Murphy violently lunged forward at Gda Kelly forcing him to stop the vehicle

While Gda Kelly tried to restrain both men, his colleague, who had also been bitten during the struggle, was kicked in the face.

The officers radioed for assistance and attempts were made to move Murphy into a patrol van.

Gda Kelly described Murphy as “lunging and kicking like a wild animal”. At one stage he succeeded in head-butting the officer after making numerous attempts to do so. 

Sgt Flynn said Murphy was eventually restrained after another officer struck him with a baton.

Leo Mulrooney BL defending, said his client has since completed an alcohol awareness programme and has secured employment.

He said he has not come to garda attention since and he has made positive steps to reducing his risk of re-offending.

Mr Mulrooney told Judge Nolan his client is ashamed of his behaviour and wishes to offer his apologies to both gardaí.

- Sonya McLean