Saturday 23 February 2019

Man gets nine years for cocaine-fuelled hijack rampage

Joseph Rafferty’s arrest. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Joseph Rafferty’s arrest. Picture; Gerry Mooney

A Dublin man who went on a cocaine-fuelled driving rampage armed with a sub-machine gun has been jailed for nine years.

Joseph Rafferty (38) seized multiple vehicles at gunpoint and led gardai on a dangerous high-speed chase because he believed his wife was having an affair, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told.

His crimes over the eight-hour spree include false imprisonment, aggravated burglary, threats with a firearm and reckless endangerment. He covered 45km from start to finish.

During his crime spree he hijacked six vehicles and assaulted two people, while also causing injuries to road users.

Chief Supt Brian Sutton revealed that 50 gardai were deployed in Rafferty's pursuit throughout the day, including air support and members of the dog unit.

Judge Martin Nolan noted that "hardened criminals could go through their entire career and not commit this number of serious offences".

The judge said it was an "incredible litany of frightening crimes" and that "people had every right to believe they would be killed".

He noted that "thankfully" nobody was seriously injured, apart from a head laceration that one man sustained when Rafferty broke into his home to get car keys.


Rafferty, of Brookview Lawns, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to agg- ravated burglary at Watergate Estate, Tallaght, and assaulting the homeowner on October 10 last year.

Members of the Emergency Response Unit were drafted in to help.

Rafferty had been in a domestic dispute at his partner's home in Brookfield.

He also pleaded guilty to criminal damage, two counts of car-jacking, three of possessing a sub-machine gun, unlawful possession of 9mm Luger ammunition and reckless endangerment in south-west locations in the city on the same date.

He pleaded guilty to stealing a vehicle from Carroll and Roche Subaru dealership, Newlands Cross, Clondalkin.

The father-of-four has 34 previous convictions and has received lengthy sentences here and in the UK for robbery and burglaries. He got an eight-year jail term in 2010 for robbery, with four years suspended.

Speaking at the time of the incident, a man who was att-acked in his home by Rafferty said: "I wish no malice to any man but people like him should be off the streets.

"I hope if he gets a sentence it's for 20 years because the public has to be safe from people like him. Drugs and what they do are horrible."

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