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Mike Sheahan’s son Tony Sheahan had 30 drinks and Stilnox before hijacking Uber driver’s vehicle

The son of legendary AFL footy news man Mike Sheahan consumed 30 drinks and took a sleeping pill before he stole an Uber driver’s car in a bizarre meltdown in Sydney.

Tony Sheahan was suffering from ‘some form of delusional paranoia’ when he took the vehicle after a heavy day’s drinking in Hotel Ravesis at Bondi Beach.

The 45-year-old faced Waverley Local Court on Wednesday where it was revealed he had been diagnosed with alcohol abuse disorder, anxiety and a major depressive illness.

The court heard Sheahan had been drinking since he was 14, first saw a psychologist at 15 and was now receiving ongoing mental health treatment  

The son of legendary AFL footy news man Mike Sheahan had consumed 30 drinks and took sleeping pills before he stole an Uber driver’s car in a bizarre meltdown. Tony Sheahan is pictured (right) outside court with his lawyer Bryan Wrench on Wednesday

Tony Sheahan was suffering from 'some form of delusional paranoia' when he took an Uber driver's vehicle after a heavy day's drinking in Hotel Ravesis at Bondi Beach

Tony Sheahan was suffering from ‘some form of delusional paranoia’ when he took an Uber driver’s vehicle after a heavy day’s drinking in Hotel Ravesis at Bondi Beach

Sheahan was more than three times over the limit when he hijacked Uber driver Janaka Pathirana’s car at Bondi Beach just before Christmas last year. 

The sporting gossip columnist did not even have a licence when he decided to take off in Mr Pathirana’s Holden Captiva. 

Magistrate Ross Hudson outlined the ‘absolute bizarreness’ of Sheahan’s conduct on December 10 after hearing representations from solicitor Bryan Wrench. 

Mr Hudson said Sheahan told a psychologist he had consumed 30 units of alcohol at Ravesis before he experienced a panic attack and took a Stilnox tablet.

Sheahan had been prescribed the sleeping medication for insomnia but on top of all the alcohol it had caused an ‘idiosyncratic drug reaction’.

Tony Sheahan is the son of legendary AFL reporter Mike Sheahan

Tony Sheahan is the son of legendary AFL reporter Mike Sheahan

Mr Hudson said Sheahan left Ravesis on foot and believed he had spoken to police near Bellevue Hill on his way home to Double Bay.

AFL ROYALTY: MIKE AND TONY SHEAHAN 

Tony Sheahan is the son of respected AFL journalist Mike Sheahan and wrote a gossip column in the Sunday Herald Sun. 

Mike Sheahan has been one of Australia’s most prominent AFL commentators for decades, working across newspapers, television and radio. 

The media centre at AFL House in Melbourne is named in the 75-year-old’s honour.

In 2017, Sam Newman took aim at Tony after he filmed and released an exclusive interview Newman had teed-up with underworld identity Mick Gatto. 

‘This was a private thing… and we allowed people in there, Tony Sheahan. You’re a piece of s*** Tony,’ Newman said at the time.

‘Mate, you leaked that, you took that and gave it to all the other networks. I know we’ve been breaking stories for 24 years and we’ve been helping our friends in the media but Tony Sheahan, you’re a piece of s***.’

At the time, Tony had been spruiking his new paparazzo/gossip site 15minutesofFame.com.au

He began to suffer ‘some form of delusional paranoia’ and ‘the madness has unravelled’ when he encountered Mr Pathirana.

The Uber driver had been expecting to pick-up a woman named Louisa at the intersection of Gould and Roscoe Streets at Bondi when the Sunday Herald Sun columnist commandeered the ride. 

Sheahan was wearing a white T-shirt, grey-coloured shorts and carrying a laptop bag when he got in the car. 

‘Go, go, go,’ Sheahan barked when Mr Pathirana asked the journalist to identify himself. 

Mr Pathirana would later tell police he observed Sheahan’s eyes were red, his speech was slurred and his reactions ‘lethargic’.

‘The victim also noted the accused’s breath to smell of alcohol,’ court documents stated.

‘The victim believed the accused to be heavily intoxicated having made observations of his appearance and mannerisms.’

After driving a short distance down the street the worried driver asked Sheahan to leave. 

‘You need to get out of my car, I need to collect the correct rider,’ Mr Pathirana pleaded.

‘Go, go, go,’ Sheahan said again.  ‘I will pay you money, I will pay you money.’ 

When the driver refused and jumped out of the car, Sheahan followed him. 

‘The accused followed the victim around the vehicle twice, who was now on his mobile phone to triple zero requesting assistance,’ court documents stated. 

‘The victim retrieved his house keys from the centre console of his vehicle before closing all the doors.’

Determined to ‘go’, Sheahan – who would later record a blood alcohol level of .177 – jumped into the driver’s seat and took off. 

Path of chaos: How Melbourne columnist Tony Sheahan tore up Sydney in drunken night out  

Armed with the car’s registration number, it would take police just minutes to locate the drunken car thief. 

Sergeant Kerri Bennett was on the lookout for the stolen vehicle when she spotted it parked on the western kerb of Bellevue Road with its headlights off. 

When she approached the car, Sheahan made a break for it.

‘Sergeant Bennet pursued the accused on foot calling for him to stop,’ court documents stated.

‘The accused continued to walk away before being apprehended a short distance later.’

The court heard Sheahan had only driven a short distance and had parked ‘remarkably well’. 

Tony Sheahan smelt of alcohol when he stole an Uber vehicle and left the driver on the side of the road 

Sheahan was breath tested and arrested on the spot before being taken to Waverley police station to be interviewed.

Checks confirmed Sheahan’s NSW drivers’ licence has expired on August 23, 2018.

Sheahan told police he had downed a dozen beers since midday and asked to be taken to hospital for a blood test. 

Upon his return, police still deemed Sheahan to be too drunk to be interviewed. 

Mr Wrench said his client regularly used Uber so as not to drink and drive and presented evidence of more than 300 such trips.

He described Sheahan’s ‘bizarre conduct’ on the night in question as ‘completely out of character’ and destined to end in his arrest.

Where it all began: Gould Street and Roscoe Street, Bondi Beach

Where it all began: Gould Street and Roscoe Street, Bondi Beach

‘He was never going to get away with it,’ Mr Wrench said. ‘He was always going to get caught.’

Police prosecutor Sergeant Paul Hennigham described the explanation for Sheehan’s behaviour as ‘plausible’.

Mr Hudson said whereas Sheahan had previously been self-medicating to deal with his psychological problems he was now getting proper treatment.

His mental issues had been an ‘ongoing tussle’ but he had ceased medication and curtailed his drinking.

Sheahan had done voluntary work with the Salvation Army and undergone seven counselling sessions with Tim Watson-Munro, a well-known forensic psychologist. 

Mr Hudson said Sheahan told a psychologist he had consumed 30 units of alcohol at Ravesis before he experienced a panic attack and took a Stilnox tablet. Ravesis is pictured

Mr Hudson said Sheahan told a psychologist he had consumed 30 units of alcohol at Ravesis before he experienced a panic attack and took a Stilnox tablet. Ravesis is pictured

At the time he stole the Uber Sheahan’s de facto relationship had been troubled and he was under financial stress. He had suspended from work by his employer.

Mr Hudson said Sheahan’s subjective case was ‘powerful’, he was on the path to rehabilitation and had shown remorse.

He did not convict him for stealing the vehicle, instead placing Sheahan on an 18-month bond which required him to continue treatment. The offence of driving with an expired licence was dismissed. 

Sheahan had already pleaded guilty in March to high range drink driving for which he was placed on another 18-month conditional release order. His licence was disqualified for six months. 

TONY SHEAHAN’S 17 MINUTES OF BONDI MADNESS

1. 9.49pm on Friday, December 10 2021: Uber driver goes from North Bondi to Bondi Beach to drop off a passenger.

2. At the intersection of Gould Street and Roscoe Streets, Uber driver Janaka Pathirana accepts a new ride from a person who made a booking under the name ‘Louisa W’.

3. As Mr Pathirana approaches the intersection of Gould and Hall Street, he turns his Holden Captiva right onto Hall Street. Tony Sheahan, who is standing on Hall Street, approaches the victim’s vehicle, opens the rear passenger door and gets inside.

4. Mr Pathirana drives a short distance and stops near the intersection of Jacques Avenue and Hall Street and asks him to get out.

5. About 10.06pm, Sergeant Kerri Bennett is driving on Bellevue Road, Bellevue Hill towards Victoria Road when she spots Sheahan parked on the kerb of Bellevue Road with the headlights off. She approaches as he tries to walk off. He’s arrested shortly afterwards.

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