herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Addict who took Down syndrome boy (6) from outside city shop is jailed

Gardai said Ryan was initially too intoxicated to be interviewed. Stock picture
Gardai said Ryan was initially too intoxicated to be interviewed. Stock picture

A drug addict who was "out of it" when he took a six-year-old boy from outside a shop before stealing his chicken nuggets and then abandoning him has been jailed for three years.

Garda Elaine Holmes told Noel Devitt BL, prosecuting, that the young boy, who has Down syndrome, had been with his parents at a hospital appointment before his father took him to Burger King to get food.

The man later left the child in a buggy outside a shop and went into it momentarily. He returned to find the boy was gone and called gardai immediately.

Gda Holmes said a woman had spotted Ryan pushing the buggy with the little boy and could clearly see he was "out of it". He then abandoned the child outside Arnotts and she got security staff in the shop to raise the alarm.

The child was reunited with his father within 10 or 15 minutes.

Arnotts staff had gone through CCTV footage and gardai had a description of the culprit before Gda Holmes met with the father.

She then spotted Ryan walking towards her with his eyes closed and arrested him immediately. Ryan was initially too intoxicated to be interviewed, but later told gardai "if it was me I am very sorry for what I did".

Damage

David Ryan (28), of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to intentionally or recklessly taking the child without consent at Liffey Street Upper on June 11, 2015.

He has 112 previous convictions which were all dealt with in the District Court and include criminal damage, public order, theft and fraud offences.

Sean Gillane SC, defending, said the State had agreed that the guilty plea was on the basis of reckless commission rather than intentional.

A victim-impact report said the boy had been upset at school the next day, but otherwise there had been no significant knock- on effect.

Sean Gillane SC, defending described it as "every parent's worse nightmare".

He said it was very evident that his client had been "out of it", that he took the chicken nuggets off the child and moved on.

Counsel said Ryan was utterly oblivious to the panic going on around him

Mr Gillane said he hoped the child's father would take some comfort from the knowledge that the boy had been under the observation of a passer-by at all times.

Ryan had written a letter of apology for "the hurt and pain" he had caused the boy and his family.

Judge Melanie Greally said that for those 15 minutes the boy's father had no idea what had happened. She added that "the anguish, fear and terror that accompanied those minutes must have been extreme".

She acknowledged that the child was never in any danger and that Ryan never bore him any malicious intent.

"It arose out of the fact that you were manifestly out of it and that you had not been acting in a deliberate and conscious way," Judge Greally said to Ryan.

She noted that he had very severe addictions problems, was remorseful for his actions and had issues surrounding his childhood. She then jailed him for three years.

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