A PROSPECT man who threatened to shoot a taxi driver and forced him to drive around the city for more than two hours was sentenced to a total of six years in prison this Wednesday.
Mark Ryan, 24, of Lenihan Avenue pleaded guilty to robbing cash, mobile phones and a driver’s licence from the taxi driver in the early hours of February 12, last.
Detective Garda Brian O’Connor said the ordeal began when the taxi-driver picked up Ryan in the Edward Street area of the city at around 2.30am.
He said when the taxi driver asked Ryan to pay the fare up-front he pulled out a handgun and pointed it at his face.
He then threatened the man and demanded that he hand over his cash, which included €90 in coins and €70 in notes.
During a sentencing hearing, Det Garda O’Connor said the driver believed he was going to die and that he had been extremely traumatised by the incident.
Judge Carroll Moran was told the hijacking happened less than four months after a separate incident during which Ryan stabbed a man at his home in Moyross.
The victim – a man in his early 60s - was stabbed in the arm and chest when he was confronted by Ryan when he opened his front door.
Imposing sentence, Judge Moran said the taxi driver had gone through a “very traumatic experience” and he said Ryan was lucky he didn’t inflict “catastrphic injuries” on the assault victim.
The judge said it was a very difficult case given the serious nature of the offences. He also noted that Ryan was on bail in relation to separate burglary offences when he hijacked the taxi.
The judge imposed prison sentences totallig six years, which he backdated to February 12, last. He also ordered that both the taxi driver and the assault victim should each be paid €1,500 in compensation.
*A full version of this story was published in the Limerick Leader, print edition, dated December 24, 2011