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07 Jul 2022

Jailed for hijacking and threatening to kill taxi driver

Taxi driver feared for his life after being told his head would be 'blown off'

Letterkenny courthouse

The sentencing at Letterkenny Circuit Court had been adjourned so that a psychiatric report could be carried out

A man who pretended to have a gun and forced a taxi driver and his passenger to drive more than 30kms to Derry has been jailed for two and a half years.

Alan Luukas, 43, was sentenced at Letterkenny Circuit Court after pleading guilty to hijacking and false imprisonment charges relating to an incident in Moville on March 4, 2015. He also admitted threatening a Garda in an incident in the town on July 2, last year.

The sentencing had been adjourned so that a psychiatric report could be carried out. A previous hearing was told Luukas jumped into the back of the taxi in Moville after another man had flagged it down.

He ordered the taxi driver to take him to Derry, saying he had a gun. He threatened to “blow the head off” the driver. Luukas continued to threaten the driver and his passenger during the journey to Derry.

When they got to Derry, Luukas told them to empty their pockets and said that he wanted their money but they told him they had none.

He threatened them again before he got out of the taxi.

The witnesses then said it looked like he was putting something down his trousers. They added that although they didn’t actually see a gun they were in fear all the time.

On July 2 last year he was arrested following a public order incident in Moville.

He threatened gardai saying: “I’ll have you murdered and your family murdered”.

Counsel for Luukas Fiona Crawford said Luukas had described the event as “like Starsky and Hutch”.

He had apologised and said that when he had beer he went “gaga with drink”.

The psychiatric report found that he suffers from mental health issues and that he was remorseful.

A probation report found that Luukas, who lost his right eye in an accident when he was 13, is at risk of reoffending when he takes alcohol.

Luukas, with an address at Foyle Park, Derry, has 32 convictions in Northern Ireland for offences including arson, burglary, assaulting police and drink-driving.

Moville... where the horrifying ordeal began for the taxi driver and his passenger.

Judge John Aylmer said Luukas was charged with very serious offences which merited a custodial sentence.

He said the offences of threatening to kill and false imprisonment merited sentences of five years in prison.

Mitigating factors included that he had expressed remorse and was anxious to apologise to the victims.

The judge said the report showed Luukas has a relevant physiatric history.

He said a troubling feature of the case was that when Luukas does not comply with taking his medication he becomes a problem for the criminal justice system.

The judge reduced the sentences for false imprisonment and hijacking to two and a half years and imposed a one-year sentence for threatening Gardaí, with the sentences to run concurrently.

The sentences were backdated to when Luukas went into custody in July 2021.

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