Assaulted director, then escaped centre

by Sylvia Pownall

A teen who assaulted the director of the detention centre in Lusk where he was being held with an iron bar escaped and walked to his grandmother’s house, a court heard.

Michael Ward (19) fled the Oberstown Children’s Detention Campus in Lusk on May 29, 2017 by using an angle grinder stored in a shed to cut through the fence.

Ward, of Gleann Riada, Strokestown Road, Co Longford pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to criminal damage, assault causing harm and assault.

He and three others broke out of the centre after what was described at the time as a mini-riot, prompting renewed calls for tighter security from the local community.

The court heard Ward is serving a four-year sentence, with the final 12 months suspended, for other offences of criminal damage also committed at Oberstown.

Ward began a struggle with a staff member on his way to the bathroom and threatened him with a broken piece of a ceramic plate he pulled from his shorts.

He and several other youths then barricaded themselves in an office, armed with metal table legs. Ward broke a sink off the wall and smashed it over the toilet.

When campus director Pat Bergin arrived in a bid to calm the situation Ward reached through a smashed window and swung a metal bar, hitting Mr Begin in the head.

He then removed a radiator from a wall and used it as a battering ram to get into a hallway before cutting through the fence and walking to his grandmother’s home in Crumlin.

The total cost of the damage done was €17,135. Ward has 56 previous convictions, including convictions for theft, burglary, handling stolen property, criminal damage and public order offences.

Judge Patricia Ryan ordered a governor’s report and a probation report to be prepared and adjourned the matter for sentencing to March 22.

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