Thursday 8 December 2016

Victim identified phone mugger after recognising him from TV3 show

Sonya McLean

Published 27/07/2016 | 16:21

Noel Darby (40)
Noel Darby (40)
Stock photo

A man identified his mugger to gardaí because he had seen him on a documentary about recovering drug addicts in Dublin.

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Noel Darby (40) featured in “Darndale: The Edge of Town” on TV3 during which he spoke of his hopes to be finally rid of his drug addiction. He had not committed any serious criminal offence in 13 years before he robbed a mobile phone off a man who was waiting at a bus stop.

Darby of Belcamp Gardens, Priorswood, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of a mobile phone on the Malahide Road in Coolock on February 9, 2015. His 16 previous convictions include offences for possession of a firearm and drugs and a robbery.

Garda Liam Wright told Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting that Darby asked a man sitting at a bus stop for the time having earlier engaged him in conversation. The man became suspicious and tried to shield his phone but Darby grabbed it and ran off.

The man followed but he then noticed that Darby had a seven inch kitchen knife. Darby shouted “don't f**king follow me” and the man backed off.

Gda Wright said during the conversation the victim felt he recognised Darby from the documentary and when he returned home, he confirmed it was him after watching an episode of the programme on YouTube.

Darby was arrested the following day and made full admissions.

Judge Melanie Greally adjourned sentencing to November 18, next. She remanded Darby on continuing bail and ordered a probation report.

Gda Wright agreed with Anne-Marie Lawlor BL, defending that Darby was deeply ashamed of his actions and claimed it had been “a spur of the moment” offence.

He accepted that, apart from two public order offences, Darby had not come to garda attention since 2003.

Gda Wright further accepted that the victim had not been hugely affected by the mugging and had “completely moved on”.

Ms Lawlor said the documentary dealt with drug addicts and their addictions and that Darby had been interviewed about his hopes that he was fully rehabilitated.

Counsel submitted to Judge Greally that Darby was not a threat to the community and asked that the case be adjourned to allow for a defence witness in relation to her client's engagement with drug treatment.

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