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Wednesday 20 June 2018

Drunk father-of-15 led gardai on high-speed chase after 'meltdown'

Alcoholic Jimmy Connors had 326 previous convictions
Alcoholic Jimmy Connors had 326 previous convictions

A drunk-driving father-of-15 was having a "meltdown" when he led gardai on a chase after they spotted an open bottle of beer beside him in his car.

Alcoholic Jimmy Connors (60) had already clocked up 326 previous convictions for a range of offences when gardai caught him starting his car while highly intoxicated.

He was living in the car at the time after "falling off the wagon" due to the death of a son.

Jailing him for four months and banning him from driving for 25 years, Judge David McHugh said Connors' litany of previous offences was "some kind of record".

Dangerous

Connors, of The Avenue, Belgard Heights, Tallaght, was also fined €1,200 after he pleaded guilty to drunk, dangerous and uninsured driving.

Gda Sgt Maria Callaghan told Blanchardstown District Court that the incident happened in the car park of Aldi, Newland's Cross, last June 14.

Gardai had responded to a report of a man who was in a highly intoxicated state at 1.05am.

When they arrived, they saw Connors turning the keys in the ignition, with an open bottle of beer in the car beside him.

When they spoke to him, he started the car and drove off at speed.

Gardai followed him and he turned dangerously on to Fonthill Road, causing other cars to take action to avoid him. He also ran a red light.

When the car stopped, he tried to run from it as gardai approached.

He was arrested and taken to Ballyfermot Garda Station, where he provided a urine sample of 235mg - more than three times the limit.

He was aggressive and abusive to gardai in the station after his arrest, Sgt Callaghan said.

In a previous incident, last April 5, Connors was stopped driving in the Maldron Hotel car park in west Dublin. He had no insurance and gave gardai a false date of birth and address.

Connors was already serving a two-year sentence for bur- glary when he entered his pleas yesterday.

His litany of prior offences included convictions for assault and threatening to kill.

"It would appear to be a record of some type or kind, I would imagine," the judge said.

Defence barrister Jennifer Jackson said most of Connors' prior convictions were for mot- oring offences.

He was an alcoholic who had "never got to grips with his problem", she said.

Connors was married but separated due to his alcoholism.

Last year, one son died, which caused Connors to "fall off the wagon", Ms Jackson said.

Excuse

At the time of the latest incident he was homeless, drinking and living in his car. He realised this was no excuse.

"It would appear he had a meltdown at that time," Judge McHugh said.

"He was very intoxicated and engaged in very dangerous driving on the night in question and, but for fate, the matter could have been an awful lot more serious."

The judge said he was taking into account the accused's difficult life and bereavement, but had to balance that with the aggravating factors "of which there are many".

The judge made the four-month prison term consecutive to the sentence Connors is already serving.

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