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Gardaí tell court young Corkman tried to hijack car during psychotic episode

A young man tried to hijack a car in Cork city as he kicked in the windscreen of the car and threatened to stab the driver with his keys during a psychotic episode, it was alleged by gardaí.

Detective Garda Brian Holland arrested 30-year-old PJ Field of Churchfield Green, Cork, and charged him with assaulting the motorist at around 7.30pm on Monday, September 18, at Coach Street, Cork, and causing criminal damage to his car.

The detective objected to bail being granted to PJ Field at Cork District Court.

The driver of the blue Dacia car told gardaí that while driving on Coach Street a man dressed in black jumped on the bonnet of the car and repeatedly kicked the windscreen until it smashed.

It was alleged that this man reached inside the car and took the keys and shouted repeatedly, “Get out of the car”. He also threw punches at the owner of the car and threatened to stab him with the keys.

Det. Garda Holland said that while the driver did get out of the car and the assailant got in to the driver’s seat, the driver did manage to get his keys back before the young man eventually fled the scene.

“This was a very serious offence. By his own admission he had a psychotic breakdown in recent days — he hears voices in his head,” the detective said.

Eddie Burke, defence solicitor, said Mr Field spent 10 days in St Michael’s psychiatric unit in Mercy University Hospital and also made a recent attempt at self-harm and that the young man “was obviously experiencing a psychotic episode”. 

The young man confirmed this in the witness box but said he would take prescribed medication if released and go to live with a relative and abide by any bail conditions.

Mr Field said: 

I got a big wake-up call in the last couple of weeks. If I don’t change my life I will end up in a grave. 

“I will go back to (relative’s house), take my prescription and I don’t think I will be wandering the streets.” 

Cross-examined by Sergeant Ciarán Kelleher, the defendant said he did not hear voices all the time. “The voices come and go. They are not always there but when they are there they are bad,” he said.

Judge Olann Kelleher accepted the accused was suffering from his mental health but he said the alleged incident was very, very serious which would have been frightening for a member of the public.

The judge said he had a duty to the people of Cork and he was refusing bail. The defendant was remanded in custody for a week and the judge asked the prison service to be aware of Mr Field’s psychiatric condition and to take him to hospital if deemed necessary.

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