Slash-hook man jailed for rock attack on garda
By Andrew Phelan
Friday September 19 2008
A BERSERK father-of-three who caused a standoff with gardai as they carried out an investigation at his home has been jailed for 15 months.
James Moorehouse (24) ran amok with a slash-hook and pelted a garda car with rocks, injuring one officer during the siege in a Wicklow village.
He left his house only after negotiators talked him into surrendering.
Sentencing him, Judge Murrough Connellan said his actions were "beyond belief".
Bray District Court heard Moorehouse developed a drug problem after his fourth child was stillborn and went "out of control". He admitted charges of assaulting Garda Colm McGovern, producing a weapon and breach of the peace.
He was at his parents' house at Rocky Valley Road, Kilmacanogue at the time of the incident on November 8, 2007.
The court heard he had gone there after a night out with his wife. They had each gone to their own parents' houses afterwards and he was "shocked and surprised" to see the gardai arrive the next day.
Garda Gabriel O'Donoghue explained that officers went to the house and were met at the door by the defendant, who launched an unprovoked attack on them.
He came out armed with a slash-hook and the gardai withdrew on to the road for their safety.
He followed them and two other members of his family were involved at this point.
Moorehouse threw rocks at the patrol car, damaging it and one of the rocks struck Garda McGovern on the elbow, breaking the skin and causing bruising.
Moorehouse caused more damage to the car with the slash-hook before going back to the house.
Defence Solicitor Joe Maguire said Moorehouse became depressed after a child was stillborn 18 months ago and he went on anti-depressants, from which he developed a drug problem.
Moorehouse also pleaded guilty to separate charges arising from an incident in which gardai found him passed out in the toilets of McDonald's in Bray, surrounded by drug paraphernalia and with an uncapped syringe in his pocket.
Judge Connellan sentenced him to concurrent sentences totalling nine months for producing the slash-hook, possession of the syringe and a separate charge of uninsured driving.
He was given a consecutive six-month jail term for assaulting the garda.
– Andrew Phelan