A CONVICTED sex offender told gardai he wished they had shot him after a high-speed chase around Dooradoyle, Limerick Circuit Court has heard.
A member of the Garda drugs squad drew his pistol and attempted to blow out the tyres of a Peugeot being driven by 27-year-old Ian Bissett, of York House, Longford Street Little, Dublin 2.
Bissett - who pleaded guilty to recklessly endangering the life of Garda James Hourihane on October 11, 2011 - had been cornered in a laneway near the entrance to the Slugaire estate.
John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, said that Garda Hourihane had already been rammed by Bissett at Cedar Downs but continued the pursuit, assisted by Garda David Baynham and Garda David McGrath of the drugs squad.
Evidence was heard of dangerous driving along Dooradoyle Road as parents were bringing children home from school before Bissett entered the cul-de-sac at Slugaire, which is over 70 feet long and only 12 feet wide.
Garda Hourihane drove into the alleyway behind the accused, who reversed and rammed into the garda vehicle.
“The impact was of such violence that it caused the engine of his (Garda Hourihane’s) Toyota to stall,” Mr O’Sullivan said.
The officer had considered flight but the passageway was so narrow that he could not open the door at that point.
Bissett had violently rammed into Garda Hourihane’s car “at least 10 times” but the garda had managed to get out on the fourth occasion.
By this time, Garda Baynham and Garda McGrath had arrived at the scene, the former drawing his gun, shouting “armed gardai” and aiming a number of shots at Bissett’s tyres.
“Even this failed to restrain” the driver, Mr O’Sullivan said, and Garda Hourihane had “at great risk to himself, reached in the window of the drivers side and attempted to remove the key”, something he only managed to do after a struggle.
Three passengers in Bissett’s car had jumped from the vehicle during the ramming and crouched in terror at the corner of the laneway.
Bissett had told gardai that his passengers – who included the late Dean Barry from Ballinacurra Weston – had been egging him on, something the passengers denied. He had also told gardai when in custody how he wished they had shot him so he could end his life.
Barry was one of a gang of youths jailed for a horrific gang rape of a woman in Cratloe in 2004 and had befriended Bissett in prison.
Bissett has also served a lengthy prison sentence for aggravated sexual assault and has further previous convictions for assaulting a garda and sending an indecent text message.
At the time of the ramming incident, there were outstanding warrants for his arrest for a robbery for which he was subsequently convicted and he was also wanted for his failure, as a sex offender, to keep gardai informed of his whereabouts.
Keith Spencer BL, defending, said Bissett had had a “Thelma and Louise moment where he realised there was no going back”.
When Judge Carroll Moran confessed he hadn’t seen the film, Mr O’Sullivan informed him “it involves somebody driving into the Grand Canyon”.
Judge Moran sentenced Bissett to six years in prison for reckless endangerment, suspending the final two.
He commended the gardai involved in the incident for their “courage and fortitude”.