A DERRY man who used his finger to hi-jack a taxi said he felt like he was in an episode of 1980s American police television show ‘Starsky and Hutch.’
Alan Luukas appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court in Donegal where he was charged with false imprisonment and making threats to kill during the terrifying incident.
The court heard Luukas jumped into the back of the taxi in Moville after another man had flagged it down.
Once inside the taxi, 42-year-old Luukas shouted “I have a gun. Take me to Derry or you’ll get a bullet. I’ll blow the head off you if you don’t do as a I say.”
The passenger had earlier noticed a man hanging around the streets of the coastal town but couldn’t stop him jumping in the taxi.
Luukas terrified both the driver Mr Thomas Lake and also his passenger Danny Murphy as they traveled the 18 miles across the border to his mother’s home at Foyle Park.
Along the way he kept telling the driver and his passenger “You’re going to get a bullet in the head. Keep your hands up and no funny business.”
He added that his daughter had been killed and since that he had no respect for life.
He warned the two men “I’ve murdered before and I’ll murder again. It’ll not cost me a second.”
Taxi-driver Mr Lake said he met a Garda patrol car at Muff and considered flashing his lights at him but didn’t.
When they got to Derry, Luukas told them to empty their pockets and that he wanted their money but they told him they had none.
He then told the driver to take them to Foyle Park which was where his mother lived.
Just before he got out of the taxi he told them “If I see any sign of any Gardai or police you are dead. If anyone comes looking for me I’ll send boys after you.’
The witnesses then said it looked like he was putting something down his trousers and Danny Murphy said to the taximan “Drive, drive, drive.”
They added that although they didn’t actually see a gun they were in fear all the time.
The victims got home and decided to sleep on the incident but reported it to Gardai the following day, March 5th, 2015, for fear Luukas would strike again.
For six years there was no sign of Luukas despite attempts by Gardai to contact him across the border in Derry.
Then on July 2nd this year, he was arrested following a public order incident, again in Moville.
A Garda at the scene remembered Luukas, who has a distinctive scar above his eye, and linked him with the previous crime.
While waiting for the Garda van he threatened Gardai, saying: “I’ll have you murdered and your family murdered.
“I’ll have you shot by the IRA on the street. I’ll sort you out for that, you’ll be shot, I’ll get you in the long grass.”
Gardai said he took the threat seriously.
When questioned about the hijacking of the taxi Luukas initially denied it was him saying a lot of people in Moville just didn’t like people from Derry.
However, when he heard the facts and what the victims had gone through he made full admissions.
He compared it to an episode of Starsky and Hutch, said he didn’t have a firearm and just wanted to get to his mother’s house.
Saying he was concerned about the men he asked “Did they get home okay? I was a good actor back in the day. But that with drink and you have no feelings. Yes, it was wrong beyond belief.
“It sounds like it began as a mad idea coming from a bar drunk and looking for a taxi. A crazy idea that got out of controol.
“Im disgusted and devastated. I have to stay strong. This was a mad idea. It was like Starsky and Hutch, when you’re in a car and you get carried away and one thing leads to another.”
Mr Luukas told his barrister Fiona Crawford that he would like to meet his victims and tell them how sorry he was.
Ms Crawford said her client suffered from mental health issues and has no connections whatever with any paramilitary organisation and had never actually seen a real gun in his life.
“As he said himself it was gaga, madcap and bizarre and he would like to apologise from the bottom of his heart for the kidnapping,” she added.
The court was told Luukas has 32 previous convictions in Northern Ireland for a range of incidents including arson, burglary, assaulting police and drink-driving.
Judge John Aylmer said this was an “extremely serious case deserving of a custodial sentence”.
He told Ms Crawford it would be in her client’s interest to get a full psychiatric report and he adjourned the case for sentence to the next session of the court.Tags: