Friday 1 August 2014

Australian jailed over armed raid

Published 30/10/2013|05:28

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AN Australian national was sentenced to four years for his role in the robbery of a filling station shop in Drogheda, Dundalk Circuit Court heard this week.

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An Australian national was sentenced to four years for his role in the robbery of a filling station shop in Drogheda, Dundalk Circuit Court heard this week.

Paul Richardson (36), of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to taking part in the theft at Maxol, Ballymakenny Road on May 23 2012.

The court was told how a shop worker was subjected a 'frightening' incident when two men entered the shop just before 6 p.m. He was working alone and had just done a cash drop. Around €200 was still remaining in the till.

One of the men who entered the shop had a carving knife in his hand and he demanded the till be opened and money taken out.

The shop worker told gardaí he was 'very frightened by the knife' and 'genuinely feared for his life' as the the knife was pressed up against his neck.

A second man stood behind and put cash into a bag before the raiders fled the scene.

The victim described how he then repeatedly pressed the alarm. He noticed a plank of wood blocking the door entrance.

Gardai arrived at the scene, and observed CCTV footage from the shop. It clearly identified the raiders faces.

The accused became a person of interest during the course of investigations.

Gardaí obtained a search warrant for a house at Beechwood Terrace, Drogheda. They noticed a large piece of wood, similar to that used in the robbery, in the hallway of the house.

The accused was arrested and interviewed. He admitted he was the second person involved in the incident at the Maxol shop and said he was holding the bag for the money but he was not involved in threatening the worker with the knife.

He received €400 for his role in the robbery, which he spent on heroin.

The court heard that the shop worker had recovered well from the ordeal and was happy that all those involved were arrested.

Defence counsel told how Richardson was an Australian national who was a heroin addict before he came to Ireland. His parents were originally from Drogheda, but he was living rough, squatting from place to place.

He has 19 previous convictions, mainly for road traffic offences.

The court heard that the accused had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

Defence counsel said Richardson was making efforts to overcome his addiction and was seeking a drugs counsellor. He has also mended bridges with his family. He also has an offer of employment.

Judge Michael O'Shea described the shop worker's ordeal as 'frightening in the extreme.' He said the accused had taken part in the robbery to fund his drug addiction.'

Although he was not the main player in the robbery, he co-operated fully in the crime, knowing that his co-accused had a knife.

He said there was 'essentially no difference in their role in the robbery.'

He sentenced Paul Richardson to four years in prison, with the final year suspended.

Drogheda Independent

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