Wednesday 26 September 2018

Man who led terrifying eight-hour armed rampage is facing 10 charges

Joseph Rafferty Photo: Colin Keegan / Collins Dublin.
Joseph Rafferty Photo: Colin Keegan / Collins Dublin.
Joseph Rafferty is arrested and taken from City West shopping centre following a major manhunt. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Robin Schiller, Ken Foy and Conor Feehan

A convicted criminal who led gardai on an eight-hour manhunt across the city armed with a machine gun is expected to face at least 10 serious charges over the rampage.

Joseph Rafferty (37) remains in custody after being arrested in the CityWest area following an all-out pursuit involving more than 50 armed and unarmed gardai.

During his crime spree, he hijacked six vehicles and assaulted two people, while also causing injuries to a number of road users.

The Herald has learned that gardai will look to bring at least 10 charges against Rafferty, the most serious of these being false imprisonment, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment upon conviction.

Other charges which will be considered by the DPP include the possession of a firearm, possession of drugs, hijacking, dangerous driving, assault, endangerment, hit and run, driving without insurance and driving without a licence.

He was last night still being quizzed by detectives at Tallaght Garda Station.

Armed Gardai arrest a man at City west Shopping centre this afternoon after a chase through Tallaght...Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Armed Gardai arrest a man at City west Shopping centre this afternoon after a chase through Tallaght...Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Rafferty is currently serving a lengthy road ban after being disqualified from driving last year.

He was previously sentenced to eight years in prison for his role in an armed robbery, during which his accomplice was stabbed to death.

He has more than 20 previous convictions here and in the UK, including an eight-year sentence from Oxford Crown Court for robbery and carjacking, three years for criminal damage with a petrol bomb and seven years for four robberies, both from Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, in 2000 and 1999.

Detectives are still attempting to establish the timeline of events, with officers unsure of Rafferty's whereabouts for around five hours during his crime rampage.

One line of inquiry is that the thug was sleeping in an offside location during his crime spree.

It is also understood that he has connections in the Clondalkin area, and it will be probed if he was in contact with any persons known to him living there.

Members of the elite Emergency Response Unit (ERU) were drafted in to help in the capture of Rafferty.

The crime spree began following a domestic dispute at his partner's home in the Brookfield area of Tallaght.

He stole the woman's Audi car and drove around the Jobstown area, but crashed the car in the Russell Square area a short time later.

It is understood that he collided with a van driver, who required hospital treatment overnight.

Rafferty then hijacked a Citroen Berlingo van, which he abandoned in the Whitestown Way.

He then went to a house in the Watergate area of Tallaght, not far from The Square shopping centre, where at 6.50am he rang the doorbell.

Ten minutes later, Rafferty drove into the forecourt of the Topaz filling station at ninth lock near Clondalkin in a Renault stolen from the house.

"He came in and was very agitated and aggressive," said a filling station employee.

"He bought Club Orange and Lucozade, as well as pastries and sweets, and paid for them and then left."

Rafferty abandoned the Renault in a car park on the Naas Road and then stole a silver Volvo car with a 06 MO registration.

Within minutes there were reports that he had ditched the Volvo and stolen a blue Subaru car at a dealership.

Marked and unmarked garda cars, as well as members of the ERU and Armed Support Unit (ASU) poured into the area around Tallaght and CityWest, as the garda helicopter hovered overhead.

Then Rafferty hijacked a black Mercedes car and gardai chased it in the direction of CityWest shopping centre.

The pursuit came to a dramatic end at the shopping centre when Rafferty was arrested following a scuffle with detectives shortly after 2pm.

A firearm was also recovered nearby and is being technically examined by gardai.

Meanwhile, the man who was attacked by Rafferty after he broke into his family home in Tallaght to steal their car has said he hopes the gunman will be off the streets for a long time.

"I wish no malice to any man but people like him should be off the streets," he said.

"I hope, if he gets a sentence it's for 20 years, because the public has to be safe from people like him. Drugs and what they do are horrible."

The man answered his doorbell at 6.50am on Monday morning to see Rafferty standing on the other side of the porch brandishing a machine gun.

"I couldn't speak more highly of the gardai. The two that were in my house on Monday were true professionals. They all did well to catch him without any more injuries," he added.

Herald

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