A NEWCASTLE West man who had just been sentenced to a year in prison for breaching a barring order attempted to flee from custody and had to be pepper sprayed outside the local courthouse.
John Ryan, aged 32, of The Paddocks, Newcastle West had to be forcibly restrained last Friday as he attempted to escape moments after he was sentenced to one year in prison for his twelfth breach of an exclusion order, which forbids him from entering the Sharwood housing estate in the town.
The court earlier heard that Ryan, who has a total of 156 previous convictions, went to his former home at 17 Sharwood because he “was filthy with dirt” and wanted to have a shower.
Supt Dan Flavin of Newcastle West gardai outlined to the court that Ryan was arrested last Wednesday, January 9 after he was reported to have entered Sharwood in breach of order, which has been in place since December 2011.
Ryan was also charged with the theft of a bottle of vodka worth €11.69 from an off licence in the town on January 8.
Solicitor Michael O’Donnell, defending, said that Ryan was pleading guilty to both charges. Mr O’Donnell said that Ryan, who was “disorientated after drinking the bottle of vodka”, went to his brother’s house in The Paddocks estate, where he now resides.
However, Mr O’Donnell said that the accused was “locked out of his brother’s house” and then “went up to his mother’s house for a shower”, where he was arrested.
Mr O’Donnell insisted that Ryan “didn’t cause any hassle up in Sharwood” on the day he was arrested.
The court heard that Ryan has eleven previous convictions for breaching the barring order, while he has a further 49 convictions for theft and 48 convictions for public order offences.
He was ordered to stay out of the Sharwood and Castleview estates in December 2011 following a successful court application by Limerick County Council.
Mr O’Donnell said that Ryan knows that continued breaches of the barring order could lead to his family being moved out of the estate by Limerick County Council.
“If he keeps going up there, there’ll be extra problems for the family”.
Mr O’Donnell added that Ryan “was in a relationship some time ago”, but this has since ended. “He does not want to go back to prison”, Mr O’Donnell added.
Supt Flavin spoke of the positive impact that Ryan’s absence has had on the Sharwood estate since the barring order came into effect: “The wider community in Sharwood found a new lease of life over Christmas while Mr Ryan was in custody... it was a different estate altogether”.
Ryan took to the stand to outline his version of events. He said that on the day he breached the order “I wanted to get a wash. I wanted to get clean, I was filthy with the dirt ... I promise never to go up there again”.
Pleading with the judge to not send him back to prison, Ryan said: “give me help, put me into a treatment centre. Please give me a chance, please”.
However Judge Mary Larkin jailed him for twelve months for breaching the barring order, and handed down a fine of €100 for stealing the bottle of vodka.
Speaking in court a short time later in relation to seeking custody arrangements for another prisoner, Supt Flavin said that Ryan “attempted to escape and had to be pepper sprayed” after his case had concluded.