Jail escapee kneecapped and dumped when gardai found drugs

Eimear Cotter

A PRISONER who staged a daring escape from a Dublin courthouse as he was being led into a garda van has been sentenced to six months in jail.

John Paul Duncan (26) was handcuffed to another prisoner when the pair made their escape from Tallaght courthouse as they were being led into the van for Cloverhill Prison.

Duncan was facing sentencing on drugs charges after he admitted to possession of almost €3m worth of cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy in November 2007.

He was sentenced to eight years in prison for that offence last week, after the Dublin Circuit Court heard Duncan was a drugs "delivery boy", who had his ankles and knees sledgehammered by his bosses after the drugs were seized by gardai.

He was left in the Dublin Mountains to find his own way to hospital after the attack.

At the time, Detective Garda Ronan Doolin agreed with Duncan's defence counsel, Michael O'Higgins, that Duncan may have been "lucky" because a number of other people had been "summarily executed" in similar situations.

The defendant, of Drumcairn Avenue in Tallaght, admitted before Cloverhill District Court to escaping lawful custody, contrary to Common Law.

He also admitted to four counts of driving without insurance as well as refusing to provide a blood or urine sample.

Judge Ann Watkin sentenced Duncan to nine months in prison and banned him from driving for 10 years.

In relation to his escape attempt, a court previously heard that at roughly 4.40pm on February 8, Duncan and a second man ran away from Tallaght court, down through the court car park and across the Tallaght Bypass.


They were pursued by the court gardai who called in reinforcements. The men were arrested a few minutes later in Sean Walsh Park on the other side of the bypass.

Cloverhill court heard Duncan had a long history of solvent abuse, a high level of cocaine use and latterly of smoking heroin. Duncan's lawyer said his mother died last year and his father is terminally ill with cancer.

The defendant had also been due to get married but the wedding had to be postponed.