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Friday 15 November 2019

Late passenger who tried to flag down jet and kicked staff in attack is spared jail

Kehoe chased after a plane. Photo: Collins Photo Agency
Kehoe chased after a plane. Photo: Collins Photo Agency

A holidaymaker has been spared jail for a drunken attack on Dublin Airport workers who stopped him chasing his flight as it prepared for take-off.

Patrick Kehoe (24) caused a disruption and a security breach, and had to be tackled after he stormed on to the tarmac at Terminal One.

The Co Wexford man, who was unemployed but previously worked as a carpenter, missed his flight to Amsterdam but tried to flag down his plane, at about 7am on September 27 last year.

Garda David Cahill had told an earlier hearing that Kehoe was at the airport with his girlfriend to go on holiday to Amsterdam. Kehoe had been drinking in a bar at the airport but on looking at his watch he realised he was late and went to the boarding gate.

However, Kehoe got to his boarding gate too late and found it closed.

He got past the gate and made his way on to the apron of the airport. He then chased the aircraft.

Ground handlers were marshalling the plane, which was taxiing onto the runway.

The court heard he attacked one of them by "pushing him and tripping him back on to the ground".

An Airport Police Service (APS) woman went to stop him but he kicked her, causing her to suffer a swollen knee.

He was restrained and held until gardai came and arrested him.

INTOXICATED

The court heard Kehoe had one previous conviction for assault, for which he was placed on probation for 12 months in 2013.

Gda Cahill had agreed Kehoe was "a little bit intoxicated" at the time of the incident.

The court was told he had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and was taking medication.

Kehoe, from Raheenaskeagh, Oulart, Co Wexford, pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting the APS woman and a male aircraft ground handler who intervened as he ran after his flight, which was getting ready to take off.

He later completed a three-month restorative justice services programme supervised by the Probation Service.

However, a bench warrant had been issued in July when Kehoe did not turn up for a scheduled sentence hearing.

His case reached its final destination yesterday, when he appeared again at Dublin District Court.

Defence solicitor Peter Connolly explained his client had been sick on the last date and asked the judge to note his client had pleaded guilty at an early stage.

Victim impact statements were furnished and a probation report on Kehoe was favourable.

Judge Colin Daly ordered Kehoe, who remained silent during the hearing, to come back two hours later, then told Kehoe he was free to go.

He applied the Probation of Offenders Act, sparing him a criminal conviction as well as a jail sentence.

Kehoe, who was granted legal aid, was apologetic. He very much regretted the incident and was willing to offer compensation if required.

His partner had been supportive of him, the court was also told.

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