A hero garda was lucky to escape with his life when a crazed knifeman tried to slit his throat in an attack in a busy Garda station.
The incident happened in the public area of Wexford Garda Station last Friday when the suspect pulled a hunting knife on two officers who had responded to a request for assist- ance from a female colleague who had been manning the counter.
"I am the devil, I am going to kill you," the knifeman is alleged to have shouted at the officers as they tried to restrain him.
The suspect, aged in his 20s, walked into the station at around 6pm and approached the front desk where he handed a mobile phone to the female officer.
A voice on the phone warned the garda that the man had a knife and it was his intention to stab an officer.
The female officer called for back-up, and her colleagues Declan Dennehy and Barry Brennan rushed to the counter from another part of the station and confronted the man.
It is understood that at that stage he was still acting calmly, but his mood changed dramatically when officers Dennehy and Brennan asked him if he was armed with a blade.
He pulled a four-inch hunting knife from his pocket and threatened to kill the off-icers.
They struggled to restrain him as he tried to stab Gda Dennehy. The knifeman failed, but did manage to leave a three-inch scratch on the officer's neck.
It is understood that as the struggle continued, the man made repeated attempts to stab Gda Brennan in the leg.
The two officers eventually subdued the attacker without the use of pepper spray.
The Herald has established that earlier on Friday the man had fled a psychiatric unit where he has been receiving treatment for the past three months.
He was taken back to the facility in Waterford, and the incident is now being investigated as an attempted murder.
The incident led gardai to issue a nationwide alert in relation to the suspect. All officers have been warned to be cautious when approaching him because of his stated wish to kill a guard.
Gda Dennehy, from Co Cork, is in his late 30s while Gda Brennan, from Co Laois, is in his mid-30.
Gda Brennan represented his county when they won the Leinster Senior Football Championship in 2003.
In 2007, Gda Dennehy received a bravery award for saving a woman from a river.