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'a lot going on' Burglar escaped garda custody via hospital bathroom vent, court hears

The court heard Stephen Feery (31), then got the Luas away from the scene, with an untreated broken arm, in order to get more drugs to feed his addiction. He told gardai he “had a lot going on”

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St James’s Hospital in Dublin (Julien Behal/PA)

St James’s Hospital in Dublin (Julien Behal/PA)

St James’s Hospital in Dublin (Julien Behal/PA)

A burglar escaped garda custody via a hospital bathroom vent after they brought him for treatment for an arm injury, a court has heard.

The court heard Stephen Feery (31), then got the Luas away from the scene, with an untreated broken arm, in order to get more drugs to feed his addiction. He told gardai he “had a lot going on”.

Feery, of Snowdrop Walk, Darndale, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at Dame House, Dame Street on October 3, 2019. The charge of escape from lawful custody is to be taken into account.

Feery has 159 previous convictions for offences including theft and fraud, as well as road traffic offences.

Garda Damien McKenna told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that Feery was identified on CCTV by gardai as the culprit in a burglary at a tattoo artists studio in Dame House. Electrical equipment such as a laptop, tattoo gun, camera and phone was taken in the burglary.

The camera was later recovered when Feery was stopped by a garda and it was found on him.

Feery was arrested on October 24, 2019 after he gave a false name to gardai. It came to their attention that he had a hand injury and he was taken to St James Hospital accompanied by three gardai.

He asked to use the bathroom and was escorted there while a garda remained outside the unlocked bathroom door. The garda heard a noise and looked inside to see Feery crawling into a vent. He attempted to pull Feery back by his feet which were sticking out of the vent.

Feery kicked the garda into the chest and knocked him backwards.

He was later rearrested and interviewed. He admitted getting out through the vent while waiting for medical treatment, he said he got on the Luas to Tallaght and could not remember any more.

The victim of the burglary said in her impact statement the loss of her electrical equipment had a severe impact on her work and she struggled to replace the items.

Gda Mckenna agreed with Emer Ni Chuagain BL, defending, that the premise was not residential and there had been no interactions with any people during the burglary. He accepted Feery appeared to be very heavily addicted to drugs at the time.

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Ms Ni Chuagain said Feery's intention in leaving the hospital that day had been to get more drugs. She said at the time he had a severe addiction to crack cocaine and had an untreated broken arm, which was an indication of how bad his addiction was.

Counsel said he had grown up a volatile family situation and become addicted to drugs at a young age, falling into a pattern of offending. She said he does well in custody but finds it hard to maintain sobriety in the community, repeatedly relapsing when he is released.

She said he is interested in residential rehabilitation and asked the court to structure a sentence to ensure he is not released without supports in place. She said there were two psychiatric reports and a psychological report before the court.

Judge Melanie Greally said Feery’s needs appeared to be quite complex and she asked for an assessment by the probation service with a view to recommendations in relation to the issue of residential treatment and maintaining his mental wellbeing in the community.

Judge Greally adjourned sentencing until November 25 to allow the reports be prepared.

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