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Man who threatened to 'cut up' hostel staff was pepper sprayed when he produced knife court hears

Dempsey pleaded guilty to four counts of assault and threatening to kill

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Peter Murtagh

A homeless man who assaulted and threatened to "cut up" staff at a Dublin hostel was arrested by a female garda after she pepper sprayed him when he produced a knife, a court has heard.

Owen Dempsey, (37) and of no fixed abode, has pleaded guilty at the Circuit Court to four counts of assault, possession of a knife, and threatening to kill. The charges relate to three separate incidents that occurred on August 28th 2020.

Garda Orla Cashell of Store Street, Dublin, garda station told Judge Orla that she was on patrol on Talbot Street with a garda colleague and a trainee, when she heard on her radio that a man with a knife had threatened staff at the Isaacs Hostel on Frenchman's Lane nearby.

When she looked up having listened to the message, she saw a man fitting the description walking near her, holding a knife. She told him to stop and he replied, "Stay the f*** away from me."

Gda Cashell said she told him to drop the knife but he refused. She produced her pepper spray and radioed for assistance. She tried to spray him but Mr Dempsey ran off. She chased him and, on the third attempt, was able to spray him successfully and subdue him. He dropped the knife and she arrested him.

Earlier that afternoon, the court heard from Gda Cashell that Mr Dempsey had gone to the hostel and asked for a single room but was told by staff there, Paul Fermoyle and Daren Finnegan, that such a room was no available.

Gda Cashell said in evidence that Mr Dempsey became agitated, hit Mr Fermoyle on the side of the head and, while kicking at the door and a window, threatened to kill them. He left but returned with a blue-handled knife. Mr Fermoyle and Mr Finnegan locked themselves inside the hostel.

The incidents at the hostel were caught on CCTV, Gda Cashell told the court, after which Mr Dempsey walked into Talbot Street where he met the patrolling gardaí.

Arrested and taken to Store Street station, where he was decontaminated of pepper spray and seen by a doctor, Mr Dempsey remained agitated, saying he wanted to return to the hostel and "chop your man's head off".

The court was told that Mr Dempsey had admitted the charges against him and that his victims did not wish to make impact statements but were happy with his guilty pleas. During interviews in custody, Mr Dempsey had made allusions to God and Allah, the court heard.

Judge Crowe remanded Mr Dempsey in continuing custody until June 24th when the court will have probation and medical reports before considering sentence.

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