herald

Saturday 23 September 2017

Unluckiest criminal paralysed in gun attack is then knocked down by car

DRUGS: Offender with 100 convictions learned to walk before accident

THIS is the shooting victim who could be Ireland's unluckiest criminal. Thomas O'Driscoll was left paralysed by a bullet to the spine, but learned to walk again -- only to be knocked down by a car and put back in a wheelchair.

The 100-times repeat offender had got back on his feet against the odds after years of physiotherapy before the road accident. He has now been jailed by a judge who has described him as "the author of his own downfall".

The bad luck that has plagued O'Driscoll (27) and his family was catalogued at a court hearing of the latest charges against him.

O'Driscoll, a dad-of-one, from St Mary's Mansions, Railway Street, was shot and paralysed at a north Dublin pub in 2006, years after his father was stabbed to death and his uncle shot.

He is in counselling to try to come to terms with the litany of "misfortune". At Dublin District Court, he was described as a "most unfortunate man" by his defence lawyer when he pleaded guilty to criminal charges he had committed when he was able to walk.

O'Driscoll went out driving without insurance because he could not walk long distances. He also admitted obstructing a drugs search by taking a bag of heroin from his backside and flushing it down a garda station toilet.

Judge David McHugh jailed him for five months, describing him as "the author of his own downfall".





Suspicions

After being shot in 2006, O'Driscoll was left paralysed but learned to walk short distances and cycle after physiotherapy.

Dublin District Court heard the uninsured driving incident happened at Richmond Road on September 2, 2008.

On October 2 last year, gardai arrested him at the Esso service station on the Richmond Road, where the manager reported suspicions that he was using drugs in the toilets.

Officers forced the door open and took him to Clontarf Garda Station, where during a search, he took a package from his backside and flushed it down the toilet.

A plastic wrap fell to the floor and was found to have traces of heroin.

On January 19 this year, O'Driscoll went to Champion Sports on Henry Street and stole €815 worth of soccer jerseys.

O'Driscoll was a child when his father was stabbed to death, followed by the shooting of his uncle months later.

These events had a "very profound effect" on him, his lawyer said. He was in Mountjoy at an early age and got hooked on heroin.

"His life took a turn even more for the worst when he was a shooting victim himself,"his lawyer said. "The lower half of his body was paralysed, but with physiotherapy he was able to walk short distances and cycle. Then he was hit by a car in the last two weeks."

He is now due to undergo an operation to have a kidney removed.

It is understood O'Driscoll is currently on bail pending an appeal.

hnews@herald.ie

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