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Man guilty of armed airport rampage

A man has been found guilty of assaulting a garda, hijacking a garda 4x4, and hijacking an emergency vehicle at Cork Airport following a six-day trial.

Edmond Stapleton (38) of no fixed abode was found guilty by a jury of nine men and three women at Cork Circuit Criminal Court of 12 offences, which occurred on May 22, 2011.

The charges included a number of counts of dangerous driving and criminal damage.

The trial heard how Stapleton hijacked a garda Toyota Landcruiser on Patrick Street in Cork city.

He assaulted the driver of the Landcruiser, Garda Michael Bohane, and threatened to kill or cause serious harm to him.

He then drove the vehicle through pedestrian-filled streets and made his way to Cork Airport where, armed with a knife, he hijacked an emergency vehicle.

He was subdued at the airport by gardai using Tasers after he exited the emergency vehicle.

Mr Stapleton, who is originally from Dublin Hill in Cork city, had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

At the beginning of the trial the jury had been told a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity was open to them.

After deliberating for four-and-a-half hours in total the foreman of the jury told Judge Sean O'Donnabhain they had reached a verdict.

During the trial two consultant psychiatrists had given different opinions on the incident.

Consultant forensic psychiatrist at the Central Mental Hospital, Dr Paul O'Connell, for the defence, told the court that Stapleton's behaviour was consistent with bi-polar affective disorder and that he was in a manic and psychotic state of mind at the time of the incident.

Dr Damien Mohan, also a consultant forensic psychiatrist at the Central Mental Hospital and a witness for the prosecution, said Stapleton was intoxicated by drugs at the time.

He told the trial he was certain it all happened because of drugs.

Judge O'Donnabhain told the jury that it was a difficult case for them, but that it was an intellectually stimulating one.

He said he was impressed by the time and consideration they had given it.

He remanded Mr Stapleton in custody for sentencing on June 27.

Irish Independent