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Tallaght teen drove stolen car on three wheels during high-speed chase

CourtsBy Sunday World
Tallaght teen drove stolen car on three wheels during high-speed chase

A teenager who drove a stolen car on three wheels while leading eight patrol cars and a garda helicopter on a high speed chase will be sentenced in July for dangerous driving.

Sean Rausch (18) was unlawfully at large at the time, having previously been arrested for his part in a mugging and an attempted mugging of two group of school boys.

Judge Melanie Greally sentenced him to two and half years for the robberies but adjourned the case to next July to determine what sentence to impose for the garda chase.

Rausch of Cushlawn Park, Tallaght,  Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two attempted robberies in Old Bawn, Tallaght on April 22, 2015; two robberies at The Square Shopping Centre, Tallaght on April 29, 2015; taking possession of a Hyundai Santa Fe knowing it was stolen, handling stolen car keys, driving against the flow of traffic and dangerous driving in the Tallaght area on May 26, 2015.

He has 42 previous convictions, which were all dealt with in the District Court and include 14 for robbery, burglary, sexual assault and assault.

Garda Kieran Kilcoyne told Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting, that Rausch had been spotted driving the stolen Hyundai and refused to stop when gardai ordered him to do so.

The chase lasted for 31 minutes, during which Rausch broke 24 sets of traffic lights, crossed over to green areas, drove around three roundabouts the wrong way and drove on the wrong side of a national road for 2km.

Eight patrol cars were involved in the pursuit and nine minutes into it, the car spun out of control bursting the rear driver's wheel, yet Rausch continued to drive.

Gda Kilcoyne said that by the end of the incident, Rausch was effectively driving on the hub of the wheel.

The garda air support unit was also called in and the chase ultimately came to an end after gardai used a stinger device which deflated the two front tyres of the Hyundai. Rausch was taken from the car and arrested.

Kieran Kelly BL, defending, said Rausch was now remorseful and is hoping to rehabilitate. He said he was diagnosed with ADHD and was abusing various substances at the time.

Judge Greally said it was "quite shocking to see the scope and number of convictions recorded by someone so young" but acknowledged that Rausch had difficulties in the past that had not been successfully addressed.

Dealing with the robbery convictions, the judge said the schoolboys, who were all still in their uniforms, were set upon and subjected to "an unprovoked and gratuitous episode of violence".

She acknowledged that in relation to the first victim, Rausch was not the main aggressor but was "at hand to lend support to the enterprise". She said that he had kicked and punched the second victim.

Judge Greally noted that at the Square Shopping Centre, Rausch's accomplice had "instigated the thefts" but he had elbowed one boy, bursting his lip.

She said that the sentence for the dangerous driving offence must be consecutive to the two and half year sentence she was imposing for the robberies.

Judge Greally adjourned the case to July to allow for the preparation of a probation report, as she said the sentence will have to "incorporate an appropriate regime for Rausch's re-introduction into society, otherwise there is high likelihood that he will re-offend".

"If he can satisfy the probation officer of a real desire to reform, I am prepared to include some form of suspension", otherwise she said it will be a consecutive term of three years in prison.

Gda Kilcoyne said that the first victims were sixth-year students on their way home from school when Rausch's accomplice stopped them and asked "Do ye have a phone or any money?"

The first boy said it was at home and tried to push him off but he kept following him and punched him in the back of the head and kicked him. Rausch approached the second teenager and kicked him.

A neighbour of the victims spotted what was going on and Rausch and his accomplice ran off when he approached the group.

Five days later, a group of Junior Cert students were in The Square in Tallaght when Rausch's accomplice asked them for their phones. The group tried to get away but the other teenager grabbed one by his schoolbag and punched him in the face, before patting down his pockets and taking his iPhone.

Rausch elbowed another teenager in the face while he was trying to get away and burst the boy's lip.

The incident came to an end when a security guard who had been alerted to it, chased Rausch and the other robber away.

Rausch was arrested a short time later, following a garda chase after he was caught hiding in a garden. He was questioned in Tallaght Garda Station and the teenagers' phones were found on him.

Sonya McLean