Friday 21 July 2017

Pregnant mother who robbed taxi driver with syringe has suspended sentence reactivated

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Aoife Nic Ardghail

A pregnant mother of three who robbed a taxi driver with a syringe after he spurned her sexual advances has had her partially suspended sentence reactivated.

Mary Ward (34) offered the driver sex and quoted him prices for various sexual acts. When he didn’t express any interest she decided to rob him.

Ward, with an address at Nelson St, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbing taxi driver Declan Byrne and threatening him with a syringe at Blackhall Place and attempting to rob Sean McGarby at a Spar shop in Inchicore on August 27, 2011.

She also pleaded guilty to robbing a woman at Arbour Place on November 11, 2011 after accusing the victim of working as a prostitute in the area.

She further pleaded guilty to robbing another woman, Joan Coady, at Arbour Hill on November 14, 2011, while on bail for the previous offence.

Judge Patrick McCartan had sentenced her to five years in prison with the final two suspended in 2012 for robbery and attempted robbery offences. Today he reactivated the two year suspended element.

Ward has 34 previous convictions including prostitution, drug possession and theft. She has three children who live with her mother.

One of the conditions of Ward's suspended sentence was that she attend for meetings with the probation services.

Probation Officer Caoimhe O'Halloran today told Noel Devitt BL, prosecuting, that Ward's attendance had “deteriorated” since her release from prison. She added that Ward left the country for a few weeks this year without contacting her.

Ms O'Halloran agreed with Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, that his client had had recent bereavements in her family and that she was now expecting a baby.

She further agreed she would be willing to re-engage with Ward if she informed the Probation and Welfare Services of her address and kept appointments.

Judge McCartan said he had structured the sentence with a suspended portion “in the hope” Ward would be stabilised off drugs on her release. “It's clear that didn't happen,” he said.

The judge added that the only thing he could do was protect her child and protect the community by reactivating the two years.

At the original sentence hearing, Detective Garda Barry Hayes told Mr Devitt that at 11.20am August 27, 2011, Mr Byrne picked up a group of people including Ward in his taxi. He dropped everyone off except Ward who asked to go on to St James Hospital.

After Mr Byrne ignored her offers to perform sexual acts for money Ward took out a blood filled syringe, told him she had AIDs and demanded money from him.

He told her he kept his money in the boot and as they both went to the back of the car he grabbed Ward by the wrist.

She got free and fled before getting into another taxi nearby. Again she took out the syringe and demanded money. The driver handed over €40 and she demanded his phone so she could make a call. She then made him take her to an ATM in a shop so he could withdraw more cash.

In the shop she told him to withdraw €500. However he managed to run behind a door and close it behind him causing her to flee. Gardai arrived and traced the last called number on the driver’s phone to a house in Rialto.

They arrived at the house and found Ward there with the syringe. She made full admissions in interview and claimed she robbed the men because of her crack cocaine addiction.

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