Court escapee fails to get jump on gardai

Denis O'Driscoll, Ballysimon Road, appeared before Limerick District Court after he was charged in connection with an incident at University Hospital Limerick
A 23-YEAR-OLD who sparked a manhunt after vaulting a six-foot barrier at Limerick District Court was rearrested by gardai in Ennis over the weekend.

A 23-YEAR-OLD who sparked a manhunt after vaulting a six-foot barrier at Limerick District Court was rearrested by gardai in Ennis over the weekend.

Martin Whyte, who has addressed in Murroe and in St Mary’s Park, was brought before a special sitting of the court on Saturday - a day after he had stunned Judge Mary Larkin by leaping over the perspex screen that separates the main body of the courtroom from the custody area.

“It was the best jump I have seen in years. I only wish you would use your physical exertion and ability for other things,” Judge Larkin told Mr Whyte when he reappeared before her on Saturday, having been rearrested in Ennis the night before.

Mr Whyte is accused of breaking into Croker’s pub and restaurant in Murroe in the early hours of New Year’s Day. Before Mr Whyte’s bold bid for freedom, Garda Tom McGlinchey had been telling Judge Larkin that the accused had made no reply when he was charged at 5.41pm on January 1 with burglary and criminal damage offences.

Opposing a bail application, which was made by solicitor Sarah Ryan, Garda McGlinchey alleged that while inside the premises the defendant stolen 80 boxes of cigarettes and €95 in coins.

He said more than €1,600 worth of damage was caused to a cigarette machine, two gaming machines and an internal door.

Two battery packs attached to the premises’ CCTV system, worth €600, were also stolen, he said.

It was while his application for bail was being opposed that Mr Whyte made his

escape bid, pushing a garda out of the way before vaulting the screen.

Despite the efforts of gardai to stop him, he had run out the rear door before exiting the courthouse and running across Brian Boru Square in the direction of the city centre.

All efforts to apprehend Mr Whyte were unsuccessful and Judge Larkin issued a warrant for his arrest.

Back in court on Saturday and facing an additional charge of unlawfully escaping from custody, Mr Whyte resumed his application for bail.

Gardai, he said, had led him to believe he would be getting out on bail and it was only when Garda McGlinchey had indicated a state objection to bail that - concerned for his young child - he had decided to make a break for it.

Garda McGlinchey denied any such deal had been made.

And Judge Larkin told the accused: “You know that a garda cannot deny you bail and that the only person who can decide it is a judge”.

Mr Whyte pledged to abide by any conditions of bail the court saw fit to impose and rejected Garda concerns that he might jump bail.

“I’m not the kind of person to do the b****cks. I’m not going to make a f**king eejit out of you,” he assured Judge Larkin.

Judge Larkin refused bail on the strength of garda objections and Mr Whyte was remanded in custody to appear before the court again this Tuesday via video link from Limerick Prison.

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