Road rage dad jailed for firing gun at taxi

Nicola Donnelly

A MAN who shot an air pistol at a taxi driver's car and threatened to "blow his head off" has been given a four-year sentence with two suspended.

Derek Claffey (23) fired five shots at Nigel Donoghue's car after Mr Donoghue beeped his horn because Claffey's sister drove through a red light.

Claffey, who was a passenger in his sister's car, shouted at Mr Donoghue "What the f*** are you beeping at her for?" before he picked up the air gun and pointed it at Mr Donoghue shouting "I'll blow your f****** head off."

Claffey, of Greenfort Lawns, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to unlawful possession of a KWG branded gas powered air pistol on March 13, 2010 at North Circular Road, Dublin.

Garda John Beatty told the court that Mr Donoghue had picked up a fare at Dawson Street and was stopped at traffic lights at College Green.

A black Renault car, driven by Claffey's sister, pulled out in front of him and drove through a red light.


Mr Donoghue beeped his horn to let the driver know she had driven through the red light before both cars were beside each other at another set of lights.

Mr Donoghue heard five loud bangs and realised Claffey had shot the air pistol at the driver's side of his car.

After Claffey threatened to blow his head off, Mr Donoghue rang gardai and followed the Renault car to the North Circular Road where gardai arrested Claffey.

Claffey, who has 39 previous convictions, told gardai he purchased the air pistol the day before and he did not think it was an illegal weapon.

Defence counsel Pieter Le Vert said Claffey was "in a blind rage" and admitted to gardai he made threats and fired the gun. He said the father-of-one began abusing drugs after the relationship with his son's mother ended.

Mr Donoghue said he is still traumatised following the incident and "doesn't feel anyone has the right to do what he (Claffey) did, to take someone's peace of mind".