Victim looked to Port for escape

THE victim of Monday’s fatal shooting Gerard Eglington, who moved to Portarlington to ‘live a quieter life’ is well known to Gardaí and he appeared before the local courts as recently as last June.

THE victim of Monday’s fatal shooting Gerard Eglington, who moved to Portarlington to ‘live a quieter life’ is well known to Gardaí and he appeared before the local courts as recently as last June.

As a teenager in April 2003, Eglington was the passenger in a stolen black, Mazda MX5 car that rammed a Garda patrol car at the Stillorgan dual carriageway, resulting in the deaths of two Gardaí – Anthony Tighe and Michael Padden.

Eglington was later given four years’ detention for being a passenger in the stolen car that killed the two officers.

Last December, Eglington appeared in Portlaoise District Court charged with threatening and abusive behaviour, failure to comply with garda orders and obstructuring a peace officer.

The court heard Gardaí were trying to remove loose horses from a Portarlington estate when Eglington approached and said the horses weren’t to be moved as they were his.

When Eglington was instructed by Garda Aodhan O’Flaihearta to leave the area, he threatened the garda and pushed him back. The Gardaí had to pepper spray the defendant, and it took three of them to restrain him, before he was finally arrested.

Speaking in court, defence solicitor Philip Meagher, said his client had moved to Portarlington “to remove his association with the Dublin region” and in the hope of leading a quieter life.

Mr Meagher explained that Eglington had purchased a couple of horses for his 10-year old, and they were kept in a field with other horses adjacent to Kilnacourt Woods.

He said the horses had escaped into the common area of the estate, and Eglington wasn’t aware of this until he seen the Gardaí in the estate.

“He over-reacted, which only compounded the situation,” Mr Meagher said. “He was an inconvenience and a danger to Garda O’Flaihearta.”

Judge Catherine Staines remanded Eglington on bail for the completion of a community service report.

Last November, Eglington had a charge of possession of knives dismissed on the advice of the DPP. He had previously appeared in court on charges arising from a violent incident in a Portarlington pub on August 8, 2011.

While at a June sitting of Portlaoise District Court, Eglington was fined €800 and disqualified from driving for having no insurance or licence on two separate occasions.