A man has gone on trial in Cork charged in connection with a series of incidents in which he allegedly threatened to kill a garda and two airport policemen and hi-jacked their jeeps.

The Circuit Criminal Court was told that 38-year-old Edmond Stapleton from Dublin Hill in Cork drove one of the hi-jacked jeeps at a jet full of people at Cork Airport, missing it by inches.

The court heard that on 22 May 2011 chaotic, unprecedented and terrifying scenes began to unfold on a busy Patrick Street in Cork city.

The prosecution alleges that Mr Stapleton hi-jacked a garda jeep at knife point and drove through the city centre along pedestrianised streets full of Sunday shoppers.

He then went to Cork Airport where he drove through the perimetre fence, hi-jacked a second jeep and drove at two planes before he was eventually subdued.

Traffic Corps Garda Michael Bohane told the court how his jeep was hi-jacked as a man he identified as Mr Stapleton attacked him with a knife, pressing it against his throat and cutting his skin.

Garda Bohane said he genuinely believed he was going to die.

The jury was told by Prosecuting Counsel Pearse Sreenan that the central issue for them to decide, would be whether or not Mr Stapleton was suffering from a mental disorder at the time these offences were allegedly committed, and whether a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity should be returned.

The trial continues tomorrow.