A detective told a recent court sitting, “I don’t believe anybody in my experience was so afraid” as a young female employee who was caught up in a robbery at a local bookmaker’s office.
Detective Garda James Kilgannon described that the 22 year-old was “absolutely terrified” when confronted by two raiders wearing balaclavas, one armed with a sledge hammer and the other with a gun at the Blue Diamond office at Barrack Street. He said that she was afraid to return to work on the public counter and worked in a back office.
Dundalk Circuit Court heard that Gardai cordoned off a house in the nearby Mountainview Crescent Estate to where the pair fled and entered without permission and tried to burn clothing.
The Gardai spotted them sitting at a table which they seemed to get up from in a panic, while there was a thick smell of smoke from the chimney. The Gardai forced in a door and found runners and gloves in an open fire. There was a sledge hammer on the kitchen table and the two suspects were upstairs trying to hide in the bathroom.
Gardai also recovered a black plastic drawer with a couple of euro which was taken in the robbery. They recovered €1,960 of the €2,500 taken in the raid, Detective Kilgannon said.
Jason Kearney a 41 year-old father of three with an address at Ashling Park and also at Cedarwood Park, both Dundalk, pleaded guilty to the robbery on March 30th last year.
He was sentenced on Friday to three years jail, with the final 18 months suspended. The sentence was back dated to October last year when the accused went into custody. A co-accused previously received a four year sentence.
Detective Kilgannon told the court that at approximately 5.20pm on the date the then 22 year-old woman was taking bets when two masked men stood in front of her and demanded money. She pressed the panic button.
The raider with the sledge hammer came in behind the counter and lifted two bundles of cash amounting to €1,300 and took €1,200 from the cash register. The accused while this was taking place stood at the door to the side of the counter. He had a gun which he put on the counter when he entered the office.Mr Giolliaosa O’Leide SC pleaded that there was a major difference in convictions recorded against the accused and his co-accused who had over 100. His client had three, one for burglary and the other two for public order offences. He had a drink and drug problem but seemed to have made a substantial transformation over the last year and a half and was a model prisoner.