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'Death threat' man (27) who ran from garda search is jailed

A DUBLIN man who ran away from an undercover garda car claimed he was afraid because his life was under threat.

Robert O'Toole (27) said there has been a threat against his life since last year and he has been wearing a bulletproof vest.

He said he "got the fright of his life" when undercover gardai stopped him for a drugs search.

Judge Dermot Dempsey sentenced O'Toole to four months in prison.

PATROL

The defendant, of River Valley Close in Swords, was found guilty before Swords District Court of obstructing gardai.

The incident took place at the River Valley car park in Swords around 7.30pm on January 21.

Garda David Smith said he was on mobile patrol when he observed O'Toole and another man acting suspiciously, and suspected they were involved in a drugs transaction.

Garda Smith said that he approached O'Toole, identified himself as a garda and said he was going to search him for drugs.

The garda said O'Toole ran away across the green area on River Valley Road, emptying the contents of a plastic bag as he ran.

In his evidence, O'Toole claimed he was talking to a man and a woman when a black car pulled up alongside them.

He denied that gardai identified themselves or that they got out of the car, saying he ran away immediately because he was afraid.

O'Toole also said he did not realise that the occupants of the car were gardai.

It was claimed O'Toole's life is under threat and that he has been wearing a bulletproof vest for protection, but gardai said they were unaware of this.

Judge Dempsey found O'Toole guilty.

The court heard the defendant, a father of one, has 48 previous convictions, including six for drugs offences.

He was released from custody in November 2012, after having served a long sentence for drugs offences.

His lawyer said O'Toole, who is currently unemployed, is now building a relationship with his young daughter, as he missed half her life while he was in custody.

The court was also told that O'Toole's family have accepted him back and that his father, a locksmith, is willing to provide him with a job, as long as he proves that he has changed.

TROUBLE

The lawyer said O'Toole started abusing drugs when he was 15 years old after becoming involved with a negative peer group.

However, he detoxed while in prison and he is clean of drugs and trying to stay out of trouble.

The lawyer also said that O'Toole suffers from paranoia and is on anti-psychotic medication.

hnews@herald.ie


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