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Man who hijacked nurse's car and "drove it like a mad man" while on drugs jailed for six years

In sentencing 25-year-old Christopher Coakley Judge Patricia Ryan noted he had been suffering a “drug-induced psychosis” at the time of the incident.

SCC R Woffenden 1 Source: Richard Woffenden

A MAN WHO hijacked a nurse’s car during a period of drug-induced psychosis has been given a six-year sentence.

Christopher Coakley (25) struggled with the woman to take her keys in the early hours of the morning near Temple Street Hospital and then reversed the car “like a mad man” with no lights on.

He later caused a collision with another car and the nurse’s car was ultimately found burnt out.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Coakley had also, some months earlier, pretended to be a customer in a bookmakers while his co-accused held a Stanley blade to his throat and demanded money from staff.

Garda Gary Moran told the court that at 6.15am on 2 April 2015 a nurse coming off a night shift at Temple Street Children’s hospital was moving her car from the staff car park to the street to allow day staff into the car park.

Car key snapped

Garda Moran said the nurse was sitting in the car looking for change for a parking meter when the driver’s door suddenly opened. Coakley shouted at her to get out and give him the keys.

She was leaning away from him over the handbrake and kicking out at him as he shoved her out of the car. She was shouting “no, no, no” and hit off the radio which began blaring.

The car key snapped in half during the struggle and she ended up with the car alarm part while Coakley had the part for starting the car.

A number of people came to her assistance but Coakley managed to start the car, reverse harshly and speed off. A witness described him as driving “like a mad man”.

Coakley’s DNA was a match for blood found on the nurse’s coat from the hijacking.

Garda Moran said they recovered CCTV and were able to trace a highly intoxicated Coakley’s movements from the scene of the damage to the first car at Adare Terrace to the scene of the car jacking at Temple Street Hospital.

The car is seen reversing onto Temple Street with no lights on before driving towards Gardiner Street where it crashed into a parked car, causing a collision with an oncoming vehicle.

The nurse’s car was later found burnt out on Railway Street.

Garda Moran agreed with Lawlor that Coakley had not hit or punched the nurse during the hijacking.

‘Drug-induced psychosis’

Coakley, who is currently serving a six year term for an armed robbery imposed last December and a three year term for a previous hijacking in 2012 imposed in July 2015, will not have his time in prison extended by this sentence. He is due for release in 2020.

Coakley, of Empress Place, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempted robbery at Ladbrokes, North Strand Road on 8 December 2014.

He also pleaded guilty to unlawfully seizing a car by force at St Georges Pocket, Dublin and criminal damage to two cars on 2 April 2015. He has 101 previous convictions.

Judge Patricia Ryan noted from reports handed into the court that Coakley had been suffering a “drug-induced psychosis” during this period. She also took into account Coakley’s remorse and the efforts he had made to rehabilitate himself.

She noted there is no post-release support in place for him for when he is released in 2020. She said she was not going to extend his time in custody but would structure a sentence to try and help him.

Judge Ryan imposed a six year sentence with the final two years suspended. She ordered Coakley to undergo 18 months probation supervision to include drug treatment and employment or educational courses as recommended.

Defence counsel, Anne Marie Lawlor, outlined a psychiatric report which said her client was a person with enormous limitations in his intellectual capacity.

She said he had suffered psychosis interlinked with his drug use in December 2014 and again while on bail in 2015. She said he had been hospitalised for a brief time in May 2015.

Lawlor said he seemed to be doing well in custody where he was attending counselling. She said he had spent much of his teen and adult life in prison but his family was optimistic he could turn his life around. She said he was remorseful for the offences.

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Nadya Labi

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