A 47-year-old man who held up a judge, a barrister, and his estranged wife with a fake pistol and a hoax pipe bomb during a hearing over two years ago has been jailed for six years.

Edmund Dunican, with an address at Stadium Business Park, Ballycoolin, Dublin, pleaded guilty to one count of carrying an imitation firearm with criminal intent in a courtroom in Dublin on 20 December 2018.

At the time, Dunican, who is a fitter by trade, was wearing an elaborate device around his neck that resembled a pipe bomb, which he had made at home.

During the 2018 hearing, Dunican threatened opposing barrister Lisa Daly, but told the judge, the judicial assistant and the registrar they could leave.

The judge refused to leave. Instead, she repeatedly appealed to him to drop the gun and helped the other two women, at one point ensuring they both had glasses of water.

"Put your weapon down sir, please," the judge told Dunican as gardaí were called.

"It's too late for the guards judge," Dunican replied.

When armed gardaí arrived, he shouted: "Back off lads. If I fall, you're gone. If I fall, you's are all gone."

The 17-minute siege ended after an armed garda negotiator persuaded Dunican to surrender the gun and let the women go.

The court building was evacuated and surrounded by armed garda units during the incident, while an Army unit was called in to assess the device.

Dunican's estranged wife and her barrister told gardaí it had been a terrifying experience. One believed Dunican was going to shoot her in the head or detonate a live bomb.

He never told them why he was doing it or what he wanted to achieve, but has since shown remorse and written letters of apology.

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Dunican's defence counsel said he had previously ran a successful business, but that his life "crumbled" in recent years.

Fiona Murphy SC said Dunican had become increasingly stressed in the months before the offence, that he suffered from heart problems and was "at the end of his rope".

Judge Patricia Ryan today sentenced him to eight years in prison, with the final two years suspended.