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Armed man who feared for life locked himself into restaurant, court told

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Eimear Cotter

AN ARMED man who barricaded himself into a storage room in a Chinese restaurant was suffering from paranoia and thought his life was under threat, a court heard.

Aidan Finnegan (40) made a 999 call from inside the restaurant to alert gardaí, who said he sounded "frantic" on the phone.

The Armed Support Unit was called to disarm Finnegan, who was suffering from a cocaine-induced psychosis and had no memory of the incident.

Judge Miriam Walsh fined Finnegan €250 and imposed a six-month sentence suspended for 12 months.

The defendant, of Whitestown Avenue in Blanchardstown, admitted possession of two steak knives and a screwdriver at Ming Court restaurant, Blanchardstown Shopping Centre on January 24, 2019.

Garda Megan Furey told Blanchardstown District Court that gardaí went to the Chinese restaurant after Finnegan made a 999 call from inside it. He was frantic and was not making sense.

Gda Furey said Finnegan was alone in a storage area.

She looked through a glass door and saw him sitting on the ground with two steak knives and a screwdriver.

Gda Furey said the Armed Support Unit was called to the scene and they disarmed Finnegan, before he was arrested.

The court heard Finnegan had 57 previous convictions.

Defence solicitor Sandra Frayne said Finnegan made the 999 call to gardaí, telling them he was under threat at the restaurant.

Ms Frayne said Finnegan had essentially locked or barricaded himself away in a side room and was sitting on the ground, alone, when gardaí arrived. She said the only threat he posed was to himself.

The court heard Finnegan had been released from prison in December 2018.

He had relapsed into drug use and was suffering from cocaine-induced psychosis.

During interviews he told gardaí he thought his life was in danger. There was "a degree of paranoia", Ms Frayne added.

Addressing the judge, Finnegan said that at the time of this incident, he felt everyone around him was dying. His younger sister had died, his brother had died and his father was seriously ill. His father had since passed away, he said.

Finnegan said he was now drug free and living with his mother.

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