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Paedo on 'patrol': Horrified neighbours see child pervert arrive in garda car

Gardai suspend service contract as garages told to vet staff who work on force's fleet

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John Devereux abused a nine-year-old girl

John Devereux abused a nine-year-old girl

No remorse: Devereux at his home in Balbriggan

No remorse: Devereux at his home in Balbriggan

The Garda car outside the home of John Devereux

The Garda car outside the home of John Devereux

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John Devereux abused a nine-year-old girl

THIS paedophile mechanic took a garda patrol car left in for servicing, on a 40km drive across Dublin, before parking up outside his home.

Our exclusive pictures show the patrol car, which had been left in for service at a well-known west Dublin dealership, parked up outside the Balbriggan home of child abuser John Devereux on August 18.

Gardaí subsequently sent two officers from Ashbourne Garda station to recover the vehicle from Devereux's driveway after outraged neighbours rang their local Garda station to complain.

Following inquiries from the Sunday World, gardaí have confirmed they have temporarily suspended their vehicle servicing contract with 'a third party agent' - understood to be the dealership in question - as a result of the incident.

Garages across the State, where official police vehicles are serviced, are now also being contacted to remind them that all staff working on the force's fleet are to be garda vetted.

Worried neighbours this week told the Sunday World they were horrified that Devereux (55), a man convicted of the repeated sexual assault of a child, had access to the marked garda vehicle.

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The Garda car outside the home of John Devereux

The Garda car outside the home of John Devereux

The Garda car outside the home of John Devereux

Convicted

"Personally, I was horrified when I saw him pull up in the garda car," one neighbour told this paper. "If a garda car pulls up anywhere and the driver tells a child he is supposed to take them home, the child wouldn't think twice before getting in," the neighbour said.

"So for a convicted paedophile to be driving a patrol car … that just beggared belief. I honestly couldn't believe what I was seeing.

"Another neighbour rang the gardaí and asked them what the hell John Devereux was doing up here in a garda car.

"The guard on the call honestly thought she was having a laugh with him at first.

"But eventually two gardaí arrived up in the estate from Ashbourne and knocked on his door before driving the car away."

In a statement to this newspaper, gardaí said on Friday: "An Garda Síochána has a contract in place for the service and repair of Garda vehicles. This contract places conditions on the service provider and any third-party agents, which include, inter alia, security of vehicles and security clearance of persons employed to work on vehicles.

"The contract provides for garda vehicles to be driven by non-garda employees for stated reasons including collection, delivery and testing of vehicles.

"An Garda Síochána has investigated a recent alleged breach of contract and has temporarily suspended the provision of authorised work being carried out by one third-party agent, pending compliance with contract requirements.

"An Garda Síochána has also implemented other mitigation measures, including a full review of compliance by all third-party agents."

The Sunday World understands that as part of these mitigation measures - all garages where the fleet is serviced have been instructed to ensure workers are garda vetted.

On the day Devereux drove the patrol car home, another neighbour contacted the dealership wher he works by telephone and asked them if they were aware of Devereux's previous conviction when he took the marked patrol car out of the garage. It's understood the person he spoke to indicated he had not been aware of Devereux's past.

Indecent assaults

Devereux, who was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for three separated indecent assaults on an nine-year-old girl, is understood to have been employed as a mechanic in the garage in west Dublin when the incident occurred.

He drove the marked garda patrol car on a 38km drive from the west Dublin garage to his north Dublin home, arriving at his address at approximately 1 pm.

Neighbours who saw him arrive in the vehicle took a number of pictures of the vehicle while it was parked in the drive-way of his home.

Devereux did not answer his door when the Sunday World attempted to speak with him for this story on Thursday evening.

A detailed list of queries was emailed to the dealership by the Sunday World on Friday morning. We asked: Did Devereux have permission to remove the patrol vehicle from the garage and park it outside his home 38km away?

As Devereux's employer, were they aware of his conviction for the sexual assault of a nine-year-old girl?

Has any disciplinary action been taken by the dealership against Devereux since this incident occurred? Is Devereux still in the employment of the company?

Has the dealership carried out a security review in relation to the use of garda vehicles in for service in the wake of this incident?

No response was received to our queries.

Four phone-calls from the Sunday World to the business - throughout the course of Friday - similarly did not elicit any response.

Devereux, a former HSE paramedic and volunteer ambulance driver with the Order of Malta was jailed for two-and-a-half years in 2017 for the repeated sexual assault of a child.

The 55-year-old had denied 10 counts of sexually assaulting the nine-year-old child on dates in 2012 and 2013.

A jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court acquitted him of seven counts but found him guilty of three offences.

Scouts

The court heard that Devereux had a leading role in the scouts. He is now a registered sex offender and can no longer be involved in any of the voluntary bodies he was associated with.

Judge Pauline Codd suspended the last year of a three-and-a-half year term of imprisonment on condition Devereux underwent community-based and in-house treatment programmes for sex offenders on release.

She noted that he took part in the gross exploitation of the innocence of a young girl and had never expressed remorse.

"He has never apologised in respect of his actions. Such an apology would vindicate the young victim and her family," she said.

Judge Codd also lifted an order preventing Devereux being identified, saying there was a public interest in hearing his name.

Irish Independent