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Vicious attack Garda beaten and doused in petrol was victim of two previous assaults at work

Detectives are still trying to determine the sequence of events that led to a savage assault on an unarmed garda in which he was also threatened with a gun

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Detectives are still trying to determine the exact sequence of events that led to a savage assault on an unarmed garda in which petrol was doused over the young officer and he was beaten and threatened with a gun.

However investigators are now confident that he was not bundled into a vehicle before he was attacked.

The Sunday World can reveal that the garda, who is understood to be aged in his late 20s, has been the victim of two previous assaults while working.

Sources have revealed that he was injured during the arrest of a suspected drug driver last year when he was allegedly assaulted by the man.

On that occasion like last night, the garda was on his own when he was allegedly attacked as he made the arrest in the Cavan/Monaghan garda division.

The garda was also the victim of a serious unprovoked assault in July 2016 and required hospital treatment after being attacked after leaving court.

Sources also revealed that the officer who is a talented senior inter-county GAA footballer and described as “very fit” was lying at the scene for around half an hour on Monday morning before garda back-up arrived at the rural locality and tended to him after 2am.

The scene beside Loughan House open prison in Co Cavan remained sealed off this yesterday evening and the garda jeep that the uniformed officer had been driving before he was attacked remained at the location as forensic experts carried out examinations.

Detectives are working on the theory that a gun was pulled on the officer, who is based at Blacklion garda station, before he was badly beaten.

A motive for the brutal assault has not yet been established and there have been no arrests.

One theory being investigated is that the criminals involved in the attack had doused him in petrol to destroy forensic evidence.

A source said: “But they also might have been trying to terrify the garda by doing this and that is just shocking criminal behaviour.

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“The psychological impact on the victim in this case cannot be underestimated. He may well have feared being burnt to death," a source said.

Shortly before 2am yesterday, the garda, who was driving on his own, had noticed suspicious activity at Loughan, Blacklion, Co Cavan, and officers are working on the theory that he was then confronted by a number of criminals who have not yet been identified.

It is understood that he was on patrol after being earlier in the divisional garda headquarters in Cavan town. The officer, who is from Co Roscommon, has six years of service in An Garda Síochána and is well regarded and well known in GAA circles where he is considered a talented player.

He remained in a concussed state at Sligo University Hospital last night where he was being treated for a number of injuries.

“This is still a very confused situation and the full facts of what exactly happened need to be figured out,” a senior source said.

A Garda statement said: “At approximately 2am on the 28th February 2022, a member of An Garda Síochána on patrol in the Loughan, Blacklion, Co Cavan, area contacted colleagues seeking assistance.

“The member was disorientated and unable to explain the exact circumstances of events taking place.

“An Garda Síochána, through the North Western Region Headquarters Control Room, identified the member’s location through the Garda AVPLS system.

“There was a strong smell of an accelerant in the air, His Garda uniform was saturated with an accelerant and he had signs of physical injuries.”

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