Sunday 23 October 2016

Armed robber gets 'last chance' despite his 193 convictions

David Raleigh

Published 13/05/2016 | 02:30

John Hayes: court heard of his chronic addiction to heroin (Picture: Emma Jervis)
John Hayes: court heard of his chronic addiction to heroin (Picture: Emma Jervis)

A judge has given a man with nearly 200 previous convictions "another chance" of avoiding jail after a "very frightening" raid on a Paddy Power bookmakers armed with a knife.

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Circuit Court judge Tom O'Donnell held off sentencing Limerick man John Hayes, after hearing that he had made strides in dealing with a chronic heroin addiction.

Hayes had 193 previous convictions, including possession of a knife, escaping from custody three times, misuse of drugs, vagrancy, theft and driving without insurance and without an NCT certificate.

Hayes (42), of Hartigan Villas, Moyross, Limerick, pleaded guilty to robbing the bookies on William Street, Limerick, at around 8.50pm on August 21, 2013.

Limerick Circuit Court heard that Hayes threatened a female member of staff with a "large knife" and demanded cash.

The woman refused to hand over the money and pushed a panic alarm, alerting gardaí.

Hayes was seen on CCTV cameras leaving a nearby pub in a bright orange hoodie and returning to the premises wearing the same hoodie shortly after the incident.

The woman also identified the orange top that was worn by Hayes.

Brian McInerney BL said Hayes had no trappings of wealth and was now off drugs.

Judge Tom O'Donnell said that despite the "very frightening" crime, he noted that Hayes "has engaged with the probation services and is on a methadone programme".

"The accused has an appalling record and has been given several chances and has not taken them," the judge said.

However, he added: "In fairness to the accused, he is in the best condition I've seen him in many years."

The court also noted that a probation report was "very positive".

Judge O'Donnell adjourned sentencing Hayes to October 4 next.

He added: "I'm prepared to give this young man another chance to see if he can deal with his chronic heroin addiction."

Irish Independent

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