Tuesday 19 June 2018

Drink-driver living in car led gardaí on chase in 'meltdown'

Jimmy Connors had 326 previous convictions
Jimmy Connors had 326 previous convictions

Andrew Phelan

A drunk driving father-of-15 had a "meltdown" when he led gardaí on a chase after they spotted an open bottle of beer beside him in his car.

Jimmy Connors (60), a chronic alcoholic, had already clocked up 326 previous convictions for a range of offences when gardaí caught him starting his car while highly intoxicated.

He was living in the car at the time after "falling off the wagon" over the death of a son.

Banning him from driving for 25 years and jailing him for four months, Judge David McHugh said Connors' litany of prior offences was "some kind of record".

Connors, from The Avenue, Belgard Heights, Tallaght, was also fined €1,200 after he pleaded guilty to drunk, dangerous and uninsured driving.

Garda Sergeant Maria Callaghan told Blanchardstown District Court the incident happened at the car park at Aldi, Newland's Cross, Clondalkin, Dublin, on June 14 last year.

It was 1.05am and gardaí responded to a report of a man who was in a highly intoxicated state. When they arrived they saw Connors turning the keys in the ignition, with an open bottle of beer in the car beside him.

On speaking to him, he started the car and drove off at speed. Gardaí followed him and he turned onto the Fonthill Road dangerously, causing other cars to take action to avoid him. He also broke a red light.

When the car stopped, he attempted to run from it as gardaí approached. He was arrested and taken to Ballyfermot garda station, where a urine sample he provided was 235mg - more than three times the limit.

In a previous incident, on April 5 last year, Connors was stopped driving at the Maldron Hotel car park in west Dublin. He had no insurance and gave gardaí a false date of birth and address. Connors was already serving a two-year sentence for burglary when he entered his pleas. His litany of prior offences included convictions for assault and threatening to kill.

"It would appear to be a record of some type or kind, I would imagine," the judge said.

Defence barrister Jennifer Jackson said most of the prior convictions were for motoring offences. He was a chronic alcoholic who had "never gotten to grips with" his problem.

"It would appear he had a meltdown at that time," Judge McHugh said.

The judge said he was taking into account the accused's difficult life but had to balance that with aggravating factors "of which there are many".

Irish Independent

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