18 Aug 2022

Jail for man who stripped naked and threw roof slates at gardaí

Jail for man who stripped naked and threw slates from the roof of his home at gardaí

A man who stripped naked and began throwing slates from the roof of his home has been jailed for three years.

A garda hostage negotiator had to be called in to get David Saunders (29) down from the building at Fassaugh Avenue in Cabra, Dublin.

Saunders had spent around 70 minutes on the roof shouting profanities at Armed Support Unit gardaí who were responding to an earlier incident in a pub in which Saunders had been involved.

Saunders, of Fassaugh Avenue, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to creating a substantial risk of death or serious harm to others on September 23, 2018. He also admitted damaging two cars on Fassaugh Avenue on the same date.

Passing sentencing today, Judge Patricia Ryan noted that Saunders had been attacked while in prison in Dublin and is now in custody elsewhere.

Judge Ryan sentenced Saunders to six years imprisonment, but suspended the final three years of the sentence on strict conditions.

At a previous sentencing hearing, the court heard that during the incident Saunders told gardaí “Don't come near me or I'll kill you”. He threw a number of “large and heavy” roof slates at gardaí and one of these “narrowly missed” the head of one garda below.

This garda used a large ballistics shield to protect him and the slate hit the top of the shield.

Saunders had been topless and then removed his track bottoms and underwear and was completely naked. A garda negotiator asked his aunt, a brother and a friend to speak to him and eventually Saunders came down.

He was unfit to be interviewed that night and the next morning he told gardaí that he couldn't remember a thing about the night before but accepted what they described was possible.

He said he had drank around seven bottles of wine and taken a “few grams of cocaine”.

“I was out for two days. It's all a blur,” he said. When shown footage of the incident he said: “I feel shocked and devastated, I'm possessed there,” the court heard.

Garda Adrian Kildea agreed with Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, that Saunders was a very different man the morning after the incident, saying: “He was grand the next day”.

In a letter to the court, Saunders said he was sorry. Counsel said his client came from a very respectable family but he has had a long struggle with drug addiction.

He said Saunders had some success with rehabilitation and handed a lengthy note into court which he said would provide “some sort of an explanation” to his actions on the night. No details of this explanation were made public.

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