Sunday 25 February 2018

Seven years for man who almost rammed plane in stolen garda car

Edmond Stapleton outside court in Cork yesterday
Edmond Stapleton outside court in Cork yesterday
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A FATHER of two who almost rammed a packed Aer Lingus plane on the runway at Cork Airport after hijacking a garda SUV at knifepoint during a drug-fuelled rampage was jailed for seven years yesterday.

A Taser stun gun had to be used twice on Edmond Stapleton (38) -- who had also stripped to his underpants -- before he could be disabled and arrested on the runway.

Judge Sean O'Donnabhain yesterday jailed him for 12 years -- but agreed to suspend the final five years of the sentence if Stapleton gets help for his chronic drug problems.

The court heard that the former Naval Service mechanic -- who also has a long history of mental health problems -- was effectively living "a bush existence" for 18 months before the dramatic rampage in Cork on May 22, 2011.

Rampage

Stapleton (38), of Kilbarry Cottages, Dublin Hill, Cork, was convicted last week by a Circuit Criminal Court jury on all 12 charges following the hour-long rampage.

Judge O'Donnabhain was told that Stapleton hadn't slept for 10 days before the rampage -- and had consumed cannabis, 23 valium tablets and rum the previous day.

Garda Michael Bohane -- who had a knife held to his throat by Stapleton before he hijacked his patrol 4x4 -- said he still relived the incident though he had recovered from slash wounds to the face, neck, chin and hands.

Stapleton had repeatedly warned the young garda he was going to die.

Aggressive

The court was told how shoppers in Cork city centre were forced to dive out of the way as Stapleton drove at speed through a pedestrian area.

Stapleton later also came close to ramming an Aer Lingus Airbus aircraft which had more than 100 passengers on board and was fully fuelled.

Judge O'Donnabhain said Stapleton posed a clear threat to the lives of others that day and showed a reckless disregard for public safety.

"You have shown yourself to be a violent and aggressive man and with the definite capacity to harm people," he said.

The judge also disqualified him from driving for 20 years.

Irish Independent

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