Video footage from outside the Loughan House open jail is being searched as detectives continue to try to identify the criminals responsible for a gunpoint attack on a Lake Garda in which the officer was also doused in petrol.
The brutal attack on Garda Pádraig Scott, which resulted in amnesia, took place while he was driving alone in a squad car from Cavan Town to Blacklion on 28 February.
But a month after the probe, there were “no significant breakthroughs” and no arrests, sources say.
However, it is understood that the Irish Prison Service (IPS) provided its CCTV footage of the street outside the open prison. This is currently being analyzed by the Gardaí investigation in hopes that it will have “captured the car in which the Garda attackers travelled”.
A source explained: “It takes a long time to review video footage so it’s still going frame by frame.
“There isn’t much video surveillance at all in this rural area, so these videos from outside the prison are significant given the location of this attack and the lack of witnesses in the absence of much other evidence,” a well-placed source said.
There is no belief that Garda Scott’s attacker or attackers came from within the prison itself, where inmates enjoy a relatively relaxed regime.
But one line of inquiry is that the highly respected officer may have been targeted by criminals who were “distributing contraband to inmates” who were being held at Loughan House. Because the place where he was found injured is a popular drop-off point for drugs and other contraband. However, the inquiry is understood to remain “wide open”.
A source added: “The area where he was found is known to Gardaí for exchanging contraband into the open jail. He may have disrupted some sort of demolition and was attacked. But that’s just one of many theories in this strange and frankly disturbing case.”
Garda Scott – who normally works night shifts with a colleague – had thrown his car keys and duty radio in a nearby field after he was attacked.
Sources also revealed the officer, who is a talented senior inter-county GAA footballer and is described as “very fit,” was at the scene for about half an hour before reinforcements arrived in the rural area and left after 2 a.m took care of him in the morning.
The attack has sparked outrage from his colleagues, who have spoken out about the lack of dash cams for officers.
In a statement, Garda Representative Association (GRA) Vice President Brendan O’Connor said: “When it comes to equipment and technology such as on-board cameras in vehicles, Gardaí sometimes lag behind other police services by decades in terms of availability of such systems.
“Some road police patrol cars are equipped with ANPR (Automated Number Plate Recognition) systems, but unfortunately they make up a very small part of the total fleet.
“The system is very effective in terms of identifying suspects and recording evidence, but the system is not built into vehicles used by regular units responding to calls and conducting routine patrols, which is incredible in modern policing .”
He added: “When the Garda Mobility program was launched four years ago, we were under the impression that integrated technology capable of transmitting real-time data and images was on the way, but our frontline members are yet to see this .”
The brutal attack on the officer marked the third time he had been attacked while on the job.
Sources have revealed he was injured during the arrest of a suspected drug driver last year when he was allegedly attacked by the man.
As with the last incident, the Garda were on their own when they were allegedly attacked when arrested in the Cavan/Monaghan Garda Division.
He was also the victim of a serious unprovoked assault in July 2016 and required hospital treatment after being attacked while leaving the court.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/still-no-arrests-over-savage-gun-attack-on-garda-who-was-also-doused-in-petrol-41491435.html Still no arrests over a brutal gun attack on Garda that was also doused in petrol