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Belfast bus lane brute Donegan to be freed

 

Ciaran Barnes

By Ciaran Barnes

ONE of Northern Ireland's most violent men will soon be back walking the streets despite pleading guilty to a vicious attack on two civil servants that was filmed and went viral.

Gerard Donegan had his early release licence suspended last year after he was recorded assaulting the Department for Infrastructure staff, who were trying to catch motorists driving illegally in west Belfast's bus lanes.

After breaking the window of their branded car, the crazed 38-year-old climbed on the roof and tried to rip off a camera.

He was wrestled to the floor by one of his victims before escaping.

Donegan, who was out on licence at the time for a hammer attack on a sleeping grandfather that left his victim permanently brain-damaged, was arrested three weeks later.

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Gerard Donegan fighting on the Falls road west Belfast after attacking a bus lane camera car.

He has been behind bars since May 2018 but is expecting to be freed due to time served on remand when he is punished for the bus lane assaults at Belfast Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The thug's 15-year sentence for the 2003 attempted murder of Maurice McCracken has also expired, as has a six-and-a-half year prison term imposed in 2013 for a stolen car rampage during which he tried to mow down a cop.

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Gerard Donegan fighting on the Falls road west Belfast after attacking a bus lane camera car.
Gerard Donegan fighting on the Falls road west Belfast after attacking a bus lane camera car.
Gerard Donegan on the Falls road west Belfast attacking a bus lane camera car.

A source at Maghaberry Prison, where Donegan is being held, said: "He's been telling anyone who will listen that he will be a free man this time next week.

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Gerard Donegan

"God help the people of west Belfast if he goes back there - he's an out and out menace, a one-man crimewave."

Donegan, who has spent most of his adult life in prison, gained notoriety in 2003 when he broke into the south Belfast home of Mr McCracken and hit him six times with a hammer as he slept.

This was after he and his younger brother Kevin Barry Moyna forced his victim's terrified wife to hand over her car keys.

The senseless assault on Mr McCracken left him with permanent brain damage and needing round-the-clock care.

Donegan was convicted of attempted murder but served just over half of his 15-year term before being freed in March 2011.

During his time in jail, the west Belfast man stabbed leading loyalist Andre Shoukri with a broken snooker cue and was involved in numerous clashes with wardens.

Five months after being released from prison Donegan, armed with a knife, tried to hijack a car in the centre of Belfast.

He fled when the owner fought with him and was arrested later the same evening after trying to run over a police officer in another stolen vehicle.

Donegan was jailed for a further three years and two months for the rampage, which brought his criminal record over the 60 convictions mark.

Prior to getting out of jail in 2014, he was involved in a brutal assault on fellow inmate Michael Mongan that left his victim needing medical attention.

This was after he tried to escape from prison officers while on a visit to the City Hospital in Belfast. He punched one of the wardens before running off towards the Lisburn Road, where he was apprehended.

Donegan had only been out of prison for several months when he carried out the April 2018 attack on bus-lane camera staff.

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