Monday 24 April 2017

Freed: Driver previously banned for killing two gardai is caught driving again... but avoids jail

Judge rules 'no point' imposing driving ban on Raymond Dowdall as he already has 30-year ban

Raymond Dowdall, of Galtymore Road, Drimnagh, Dublin pictured leaving the Bridewell District Court in Dublin after he appeared before the Dublin District Court.Pic: Collins Courts
Raymond Dowdall, of Galtymore Road, Drimnagh, Dublin pictured leaving the Bridewell District Court in Dublin after he appeared before the Dublin District Court.Pic: Collins Courts

Tom Tuite

A DUBLIN man who was jailed for a notorious joyriding crash that killed two gardai has been given a suspended sentence for new motoring offences.

Raymond Dowdall (30), who was given an eight-year sentence and a 30-year road ban in 2003, is now working for a security company, a court heard today.

The scene of the crash in which two gardai were killed
The scene of the crash in which two gardai were killed

Dowdall of Galtymore Road, Drimnagh, was the driver of a stolen Mazda MX5 when it smashed into a patrol car containing Garda Anthony Tighe (53) and Garda Michael Padden (27) on the Stillorgan dual carriageway in the early hours of April 14, 2002. He was aged 16 at the time and already had a litany of prior criminal convictions.

The father-of-one, who now works for a security firm, appeared at Dublin District Court yesterday. He entered guilty pleas via his barrister to two motoring offences: driving without insurance and a licence, on July 13 last year at Galtymore Road.

He turned up late for his hearing and a bench warrant was issued but Judge Hugh O'Donnell cancelled it when Dowdall's barrister explained that he had arrived and that there was a guilty plea.

Garda Marcus Regan, of Sundrive Road station, told Judge O'Donnell that Dowdall has 51 prior criminal convictions. They included two counts of dangerous driving causing death of gardai for which Dowdall received an eight year sentence and a 30-year road ban, said Gda Regan. He also said the man had four previous convictions for driving without insurance.

Raymond Dowdall
Raymond Dowdall

Judge O'Donnell noted the accused had been driving while disqualified he committed his latest offence.

Gda Regan agreed with the defence barrister that Dowdall, who did not address the court, had been co-operative and had not been driving dangerously.

In pleas for leniency, Judge O'Donnell was told that Dowdall had gone to his partner's house and took her car after a row.

He has a young child to care for and is apologetic. The court heard that he is now working for a security firm and would do anything to avoid going in to custody. He was willing to do community service, counsel also said.

Raymond Dowdall, of Galtymore Road, Drimnagh, Dublin pictured leaving the Bridewell District Court yesterday after he appeared before the Dublin District Court.Pic: Collins Courts
Raymond Dowdall, of Galtymore Road, Drimnagh, Dublin pictured leaving the Bridewell District Court yesterday after he appeared before the Dublin District Court.Pic: Collins Courts

Judge O'Donnell noted that he has already served an eight-year sentence but added “it does not seem to have worked”.

He imposed a five-month jail sentence but suspended it on condition Dowdall does not re-offend for the next two years. Fines totalling €750 were also imposed but Judge O'Donnell said there would be no point imposing another road ban because Dowdall is already suspended from driving.

It was the early hours of Sunday, April 14, 2002 and Garda Michael Padden (27) and Garda Tony Tighe (53) were just 45 minutes into their early morning shift when the previous incident involving Dowdall occurred.

At around 6.45am a stolen Mazda MX-5 shot past the White's Cross junction near Leopardstown in Dublin at maximum speed heading for the city centre. It tore the wing mirror off a car sitting at traffic lights.

Garda Padden and Garda Tighe were trying to clear cars from the path of the stolen car when it hit their stationary squad car at a speed of up to 120mph.

The two gardai died instantly and their efforts and lives were obliterated at a junction of the Stillorgan dual carriageway on Dublin's southside.

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