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'Fast cars are my heroin': Man jailed after 'reckless' high speed chase

A judge said Jamie Marshall’s driving was “a very serious threat to the public”.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Alexandru Nika

A MAN WHO stole vehicles while committing house burglaries in order to feed his “addiction to fast cars”, has been jailed for four years with the final year suspended, following a high-speed chase with gardaí.

Jamie Marshall, 28, who was driving a stolen BMW at the time, admitted two counts of recklessly endangering the public on 31 August, 2016.

Marshall, of Altamira Terrace, Thomondgate, Limerick, had 63 previous convictions, and was serving a 10-year driving ban at the time.

During the chase, Marshall drove at speeds over 100kph through parts of Limerick city centre as well as several suburbs, and put the lives of pedestrians and other motorists at risk, a court was told.

Earlier on the same day, Marshall had burgled four houses. During the break-ins he stole three cars, including a BMW Estate, a VW Polo;and a Nissan Qashqai.

Marshall told Detective Garda Brian Culbert, who arrested him, he was “addicted to fast cars”. “Fast cars are my heroin,” he added.

Marshall was observed by gardaí driving the stolen BMW on Upper Hartstonge Street on 31 August last.

After failing to stop for gardaí, he collided with a uniformed garda who sustained a minor leg injury. Marshall also rammed two garda patrol cars as he weaved his way in and out of traffic.

The high speed chase continued through O’Connell Avenue, Mallow Street, Carey’s Road and Roxboro Road. Marshall caused €10,000 worth of damage to the €40,000 BMW. The stolen car eventually came to a stop after it collided with a bus and another car near a busy junction.

‘Serious threat to public’

Following a subsequent chase on foot with Culbert, Marshall was apprehended at Kennedy Park. Judge Tom O’Donnell, presiding, said Marshall’s modus operandi during the burglaries was to steal car keys and make off in the vehicles.

He attempted to steal a fourth car on the same day, from a house at Ballinacurra Gardens, but was prevented from driving it away as the car was “hemmed in” against another vehicle.

The judge described Marshall’s driving as “a very serious threat to the public”. “His driving was outrageous,” he added. Marshall was found in possession of keys to the other stolen cars, and he assisted gardaí in the recovery of the VW Polo and Nissan Qashqai.

With remission, and if he behaves well in jail, Marshall is likely to serve around 18 months of the sentence, which the court backdated to 31 August. Nine of his 63 previous convictions are for dangerous driving offences.

He pleaded guilty at Limerick Circuit Court to two counts of reckless endangerment, four counts of burglary, four counts of criminal damage and three counts of stealing cars, all which occurred on 31 August 2016.

In 2013, Marshall received a 10-year driving ban after pleading guilty to an offence of dangerous driving.

In 2008, he was hospitalised in a critical condition after a car he was driving crashed into a wall at Woodcock Hill, near Cratloe, Co Clare. A man in his early 20s and two teenage girls were also injured in the crash. Marshall also has previous convictions for possessing drugs, driving without insurance and or a licence, and theft.

Read: Theresa May accuses EU of making ‘threats against Britain’ to influence election

Read: Manchester man who tried to trap neighbours in flat and burn it down jailed for over eight years

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David Raleigh

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