Tallaght man pulled handbrake turn into traffic during Garda chase

The junction of the Tallaght bypass and the Belgard Road, where the dangerous move took place (Image via Google Maps)
The junction of the Tallaght bypass and the Belgard Road, where the dangerous move took place (Image via Google Maps)

A man who performed a handbrake turn into oncoming rush hour traffic in order to avoid gardai has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison, with the last 18 months suspended.

Richard Mansfield (21) of Kiltalown Way, Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two charges of endangerment, taking a vehicle and dangerous driving at Tallaght Bypass on January 7, 2015. He admitted to gardai when arrested that he had been smoking cannabis before he drove the stolen BMW.

Judge Melanie Greally said that instead of complying with garda instruction, Mansfield "embarked on a passage of driving which can only be described as absolutely disgraceful and exposed a large number of people, including gardai, to serious injury or death."

She accepted that he had a supportive family and girlfriend and that he had "plenty of time" to grow up and engage in a positive life which they "could be proud of."

Judge Greally suspended the last 18 months of the four and half year sentence on strict conditions including that he engage with the Probation Service for two years upon his release. She also disqualified him from driving for four years.  

Earlier this month, Garda Stephen Murray brought Mansfield before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court when he arrested him on foot of an outstanding warrant. He told Judge Greally that Mansfield had appeared on RTE's Crimecall as a man who gardai were looking to arrest.

Today, Garda Alan Young told John Fitzgerald BL, prosecuting that he spotted Mansfield at the junction of Old Bawn Road with the Tallaght Bypass and instructed him to pull over into the hard shoulder.

Mansfield accelerated at high speed across three lanes of traffic before he pulled a hand brake turn at the junction of the Tallaght bypass with the Belgard Road.

Garda Young said traffic was very heavy at the time and many motorists had to take evasive action to avoid an accident.

Mansfield continued to drive at high speed and narrowly missed a second patrol car, which hadn't been involved in the chase and that had been stopped at a junction near the M50. A number of pedestrians who were crossing the bypass at the time had to jump out of the way to avoid being knocked down.

Garda Young said he ultimately had to radio for assistance when Mansfield drove out of sight.

He was notified a short time later that two colleagues were chasing two men across a green area in Tymon North. Garda Young came to assist and later arrested Mansfield, who was hiding beside a wall.

Garda Young said the owner of the BMW had been on holidays when his car keys were stolen from his hall table.

He said Mansfield had 60 previous convictions including dangerous driving, trespass, having no driving license and no insurance, burglary and possession of drugs.

He told Mr Fitzgerald that Mansfield was from a small immediate family but a member of a larger extended family.

Garda Young didn't accept a suggestion from Keith Spencer BL, defending that Mansfield had a drug addiction but agreed that his client did use drugs.

Mr Spencer said Mansfield was addicted to tablets but now had "a handle on it" and was clean of all drugs. He said he had managed to "put some sort of order to his life" and wanted to put matters behind him.

Counsel said there was the "promise of a job" for his client and he had a supportive partner, parents and grandparents.

Sonya McLean