Tuesday 17 September 2019

Man who drunkenly attacked Dublin Airport staff and chased his holiday flight onto tarmac spared jail

Flight: Patrick Kehoe (23), from Oulart, Co Wexford, leaving the Dublin District Court. Photo: Collins
Flight: Patrick Kehoe (23), from Oulart, Co Wexford, leaving the Dublin District Court. Photo: Collins
Patrick Kehoe outside Dublin District Court
A view in the centre of Amsterdam (Chris Radburn/PA)

Tom Tuite

A holiday maker who attacked Dublin Airport workers as they stopped him chasing his flight as it was getting ready to take off has been spared jail.

Patrick Kehoe, 24, caused a disruption and a security breach, and had to be tackled after he stormed onto the tarmac at Terminal 1.

The Co Wexford man had missed his flight to Amsterdam, but tried to flag down his plane at about 7am on September 27 last year.

He later completed a three-month restorative justice services programme supervised by the Probation Service. However, a bench warrant had been issued in July when he did not turn up for a scheduled sentence hearing.

His case reached its final destination today when he appeared again at Dublin District Court.

Defence solicitor Peter Connolly explained his client had been sick on the last date.

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A view in the centre of Amsterdam (Chris Radburn/PA)

He told the court this morning that Kehoe’s case has “been going on some time” and was due for finalisation. He asked the judge to note his client had pleaded guilty at an early stage.

Victim impact statements were handed in. The court had been told that a probation report on Kehoe was favourable.

Judge Daly ordered Kehoe, who remained silent during the hearing, to come back two hours later. When the case was called again, he told Kehoe he was free to go.

He applied the Probation of Offenders Act, sparing him a criminal conviction as well as a jail sentence.

Kehoe had been late for his flight but managed to get through the boarding gate and then past a door leading to the tarmac, close to the Ryanair plane.

However, there was restrained by airport staff and held until gardai came and arrested him.

Kehoe - from Raheenaskeagh, Oulart, Co Wexford - pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting the Airport Police Service (APS) woman and a male aircraft ground handler who intervened as he ran after his flight which was getting ready to take off.

Garda David Cahill had told an earlier hearing that Kehoe, who previously worked as a carpenter’s assistant, was at the airport with his girlfriend to go on holiday to Amsterdam.

But Kehoe got to his boarding gate too late and found it closed.

He got past it and made his way onto the apron of the airport. He then chased the aircraft.

Ground handlers were marshaling the plane, which was taxiing onto the runway.

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Patrick Kehoe outside Dublin District Court

The court heard he attacked one of them by “pushing him and tripping him back onto the ground”.

The APS woman went to stop him, but he kicked her causing he to suffer a swollen knee.

The court has heard he had one prior conviction for assault for which he was placed on probation for 12 months in 2013.

Garda Cahill had agreed Kehoe was “a little bit intoxicated” at the time of the incident.

“By his own admission, he had a few pints before the flight and that may have something to do with missing the boarding call,” he had said.

Pleading for leniency, the defence had said Kehoe was going to Amsterdam with his partner and he “had not been out of the country for many years”.

Kehoe acted stupidly and impulsively, and did not have a bad record, his solicitor had said earlier, in pleas for leniency. He had also pleaded guilty without seeking disclosure of evidence.

The garda agreed the door Kehoe went out was normally secure and he had been apprehended in seconds.

His solicitor had said the plane and its passengers were not delayed by Kehoe’s foolishness. However, the garda had said: “I believe there was a knock-on effect.”

The accused sobered up after the incident and the garda agreed Kehoe was not a problem when he dealt with him.

However, there had been “a significant amount of confrontation” during the incident.

The court was told he had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and was taking medication.

He was unemployed, but had previously worked with a carpenter.

Kehoe, who was granted legal aid, was apologetic, the court was also told.

Kehoe, who did not have to give evidence, had been drinking in a bar at the airport but on looking at his watch he realised he was late and went to the boarding gate.

He overreacted and managed to get out a door that would not normally have been available to him, and got onto the apron, his solicitor had said.

He very much regretted the incident and was willing to offer compensation if required. His partner had been supportive, the court was also told.

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