herald

Friday 6 December 2019

Crazed law student swallowed battery and bit garda's hand

David Usher was charged after swallowing a battery
David Usher was charged after swallowing a battery

A law student who went berserk in a courthouse cell, swallowing a battery before biting a garda and spitting blood, has avoided jail.

David Usher (33) had been sentenced for motoring offences when he endangered his own life in the cell by gulping down the battery then became violent as gardai and paramedics tended to him.

He was put on a six-month probation bond and ordered to undertake an anger management course.

Father-of-four Usher, of Millrace Drive, Saggart, pleaded guilty to assaulting a garda in the custody area of Blanchardstown District Court on March 8 last year.

The case had been heard previously and came before Judge Anthony Halpin at Dublin District Court for a probation report.

The judge said he would act on the report's recommendations and put Usher on the supervisory bond.

Previously, the court heard Usher's "bizarre " and "extreme" reaction came from the shock of being put into custody.

Unresponsive

Sgt Maria Callaghan said Usher had been given a three-month sentence and was taken to a cell to await transport to Mountjoy Prison.

When checked on, he was lying on the floor, apparently unresponsive.

A Dublin Fire Brigade paramedic deemed him not to be in a serious state, but an ambulance was called to take him to hospital.

While waiting, Gda Alex McDermott helped the paramedic in lifting Usher into a sitting position.

He bit down on Gda McDermott's hand, leaving a red mark but not breaking the skin.

When the ambulance arrived, Usher was in an aggressive state, had bitten his own lip and spat blood at the gardai and paramedics.

Sgt Callaghan called in the public order unit to extract him from the cell. He was deemed unfit to be put in the ambulance and was taken to Connolly Hospital in a garda van.

Sgt Callaghan said the incident went on for two-and-a-half hours, and the paramedics' and officers' time was "totally wasted".

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