War veteran impersonated a Garda and hijacked car

By Brion Hoban

A war veteran impersonated a garda and hijacked a car with “a broken airsoftgun”, a court has heard, reports Brion Hoban.

Stephen Keane (30) of Cushlawn Drive, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Court to impersonating a member of An Garda Siochána at BoyleSport, Firhouse Road, on August 25, 2018.

Criminal Courts of Justice 2 09032017

He also pleaded guilty to unlawfully seizing a vehicle at Firhouse Shopping Centre, Firhouse, and robbery at Dwan’s Off-Licence, Woodstown Shopping Centre, Ballycullen, on the same date.

Garda James Grogan told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, that Keane entered BoyleSport on the date in question, showed the manager a badge and claimed to be an undercover garda.

Gda Grogan said Keane asked for the last five hours of CCTV footage and also asked to go into the back of the bookmakers. The manager refused and Keane left the store.

Later that day, Keane approached a car outside Firhouse Shopping Centre and told the driver to get out and that he had a gun.

The driver asked if he could get his dogs out of the car, which Keane allowed him to do before he “sped off” in the car.

Keane then entered an off-licence, pointed a gun at an employee and told him to “Give me all the fucking money”. He stole €395 from the till as well as three packs of cigarettes.

Gda Grogan said that Keane committed the three offences in less than twenty minutes.

During interview with gardai, Keane said he had a drug debt and that those he owed the money to had made threats against his family. He said the gun was “a broken airsoft gun” and that he found the garda identification card in the back of a taxi.

Keane has 68 previous convictions in Ireland and the UK. These include convictions for assault causing actual bodily harm, burglary, robbery, theft, criminal damage and violent behaviour in a garda station.

Sarah-Jane O’Callaghan BL, defending, said that her client had served in the British Army and that he did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. She said he suffers from PTSD relating to his witnessing a friend being blown up by a road side bomb.

Ms O’Callaghan said Keane received a substantial payout upon leaving the army, but that he squandered it all on heroin and crack cocaine.

Addressing the court, Keane said that he was ashamed of himself and that he could not look at his child. He said he deserved to be punished, but asked for hope at the end of his sentence.

Judge Melanie Greally remanded Keane in custody and adjourned the matter for sentencing on July 8, next.

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