Friday 20 April 2018

Six years for man who threw small dog at gardai, threatened four people

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Sonya McLean and Fiona Ferguson

A MAN who fired shots at a house after threatening to burn it down and made threats to two women and two gardai has been given a six year sentence.

Daniel Ennis (20) threw a small dog and a paving slab in the direction of four gardaí who came to search his back garden in an effort to recover a stolen post bag. He had also tried to throw a bike at the officers and threatened them with a shovel.

Ennis of Croftwood Park, Ballyfermot, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Gda Ryan and Gda Doyle at his home on January 13, 2014.

He also pleaded guilty to threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Linda Carrie and  Lena  Tims, threatening to damage property and possession of a firearm at Oranmore Road, Ballyfermot on May 8, 2015.

During one of the incidents Ennis threatened to ram Garda Michelle Doyle's patrol car and told her he would “make sure you are dead”.

He then lunged towards Garda Linda Ryan telling her he would drive the spiked, six foot pole he was carrying, through her.

Ennis continued to threaten a number of gardaí as they tried to come into his home to arrest him. He shouted from an upstairs window that he was armed with a knife and he would stab the first garda that came into his house.

Over a year later, while on bail, Ennis fired shots at a house on Oranmore Road, in Ballyfermot, where a woman was sleeping having just been released from hospital.

He had earlier that day told the woman's daughter, Lena Tims and son's partner, Linda Carrie, that he would “blow your heads off” and had threatened to burn the older woman's house down.

Today Judge Martin Nolan said Ennis displayed an incredibly violent and aggressive stance towards the gardai who had handled the situation well but had good reason to feel threatened. He said in the second incident Ennis had possession of the firearm for the sole purpose of threatening and terrifying his victim.

He noted Ennis's youth and said there was hope for reform but due to his behaviour he had to impose a substantial sentence.

He imposed consecutive sentences totalling six years and backdated it to May when Ennis went into custody.

Gda Ryan told Una Tighe BL, prosecuting, she and Gda Doyle were investigating the theft of a stolen postbag and bike from a postman and had tracked a GPS device on the bag to an area near Ennis's home.

They were looking in back gardens in the area and were searching Ennis's, with permission from his aunt, when he ran in through a side entrance shouting that they didn't have a warrant.

He was extremely aggressive and picked up a small bike. He tried to throw it at gardaí but was held back by his aunt. He then picked up a shovel but again his aunt took that from him.

Gda Ryan said they told Ennis they were leaving in an attempt to calm him down before two colleagues arrived to assist them in the search.

All four officers again confirmed they were leaving but Ennis picked up a paving slab and threw it at them. The gardaí took evasive action and while the slab smashed, no one was injured.

Ennis then grabbed a small dog by the scruff of the neck, told the gardaí he would get it to bite them and forcibly threw the animal at them. The dog yelped and ran off and the gardaí left.

Gda Doyle was sitting in the patrol car outside the house when Ennis threatened to ram her and threatened Gda Ryan.

Gda Ryan told Ms Tighe that more officers arrived later at the house in an attempt to arrest Ennis when he made threats from an upstairs window to stab them. He later left the house through the back garden but was arrested the following day when gardaí secured a warrant.

Michael Bowman SC, defending, said his client behaved in a manner that was not justified but submitted that it was his understanding that there were blank cartridges in the gun in the incident last May.

He said Ennis had learning difficulties and although he would know right from wrong, he was not capable of thinking through rationally the consequences of his actions.

Sergeant David Harrington said that in May this year Ennis and another man threatened to “burn the gaff” of the older woman and threaten to blow Ms Carrie and Ms Tim's head off.

The men then went to the other man's home but returned again to the house and the women, who were watching from windows, could clearly see Ennis carrying a sawn off shotgun.

Ms Carrie arranged for her partner's mother, who had just been released from hospital, to be moved into a different bedroom while she watched from the bedroom the lady had been sleeping in.

She could sees Ennis walking towards the house with his hood pulled up and scarf over his mouth and nose.

Ms Carrie ducked down and then heard a shot being fired before another shot was fired five seconds later. She looked up a short time later and nobody was around.

Sgt Reddington told Ms Tighe that CCTV footage from a lane facing the house was good and Ennis could be seen discharging the shotgun before the other man assisted him to reload it. He then fired it again in what Sgt Reddington said was “in a wild manner”.

Sgt Reddington agreed with Mr Bowman that the sons of the woman who lived in the house had previously been sentenced for assaulting an elderly woman who was on her way home from mass.

Ennis and his accomplice were calling these men “granny basher” and were making the threats to the women in this context. However Sgt Reddington said Ennis had no connection with the assault case or the victim of it.

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