A CONVICTED Garda killer with over 100 previous convictions has appeared in court on alleged criminal damage charges.
Thirty-five-year-old Martin McDermott was before a recent sitting of Letterkenny District Court.
McDermott is charged with criminal damage of a door, the property of Donegal County Council, at Abbey Park, Manorcunningham, on July 8, 2021.
He is further charged with criminal damage to a pair of glasses belonging to Garda Joseph Doherty at Manorcunningham View Point on the same date.
McDermott has 101 previous convictions in the Republic of Ireland and 13 previous convictions in Northern Ireland.
Sgt Jim Collins told the court that the estimated value of the door was €265 and the value of Garda Doherty’s glasses was estimated at €369.
Sgt Collins said that an implement, a sledgehammer, alleged to have been used in the incident, was found in the car with McDermott.
After caution, Sgt Collins said, McDermott ‘made certain admissions’.
Objecting to bail, Sgt Collins said that there was a previous incident where McDermott escaped from lawful custody and fled the jurisdiction before being brought back to the Republic of Ireland on foot of a European bench warrant.
Sgt Collins raised the possibility of interference with witnesses in the case were the accused to be released on bail.
Further objections, based on the ‘seriousness of the charges and the strength of and nature of the evidence’, were made by Gardaí.
McDermott’s previous convictions and the ‘likelihood of further incident’ gave rise to concern, Sgt Collins said.
Defence solicitor, Mr Rory O’Brien, argued that an address in Raphoe proffered as a bail address was McDermott’s mother’s permanent residence. Mr O’Brien noted that the only non-Garda statement thus far in the case was from an employee of Donegal County Council.
Judge Deirdre Gearty remanded McDermott in custody with consent to bail to appear at a sitting of Letterkenny District Court on Monday, July 19.
Bail was fixed on McDermott’s own bond of €1,000 and an independent cash surety of €2,000 set by Judge Gearty. Bail conditions include that McDermott is to reside at his mother’s address in Raphoe, that he is to be of good behaviour, he is to sign on every day at Letterkenny Garda Station and is to obey an 11pm-7am curfew.
McDermott has to surrender his travel documents, to have no contact either directly or indirectly (including via social media) with any witnesses in the case, and stay out of Abbey Park, Manorcunningham.
Further, he is to stay alcohol and drug free and be contactable by mobile telephone at all times.
McDermott has already served a sentence for the manslaughter of a young Garda in Co Donegal in 2009.
He was driving a car which struck Garda Gary McLoughlin, a native of Leitrim who was stationed in Buncrana and was manning a checkpoint at Burt on the night in question.
McDermott had been trying to evade Gardai during a high-speed pursuit that lasted 30km and reached speeds of up to 150kph,
Garda McLoughlin and his colleague Garda Bernard McLaughlin had been instructed not to deploy a stinger, to blow out McDermott’s tyres, because he was driving too fast and its use was deemed too dangerous.
Instead, they were tasked instead with getting the registration number of the car.
Just seconds later McDermott drove on the wrong side of the road, ramming the marked Garda car and ripping the engine out of it.
Garda McLoughlin took the full force of the ramming and died the following day, December 14th, as a result of his injuries.