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Boy (17) who tried to rob woman with hammer gets suspended sentence

A YOUTH, who brandished a hammer when he attacked and tried to rob a shop worker bringing a cash lodgement to a bank, has been given a six-month suspended sentence.

The 17-year-old had pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children's Court to a charge of attempted robbery of the woman, at Main Street, Leixlip, Co. Kildare, on January 23 last year.

Judge Ann Ryan heard that the youth had been traumatised by events in his early childhood and this had caused him to suffer mental health problems which led to him abusing drugs.

Garda John Faherty had told Judge Ryan that the shop worker had been on her way to the bank and was carrying “a large amount of cash”. The youth “came around a corner, he had his head covered, was wearing a pair of gloves and holding a small hammer”.

He attacked the woman, who was knocked to the ground, and tried to take the money bag from her before fleeing empty handed.

The court heard that the boy had been abusing drugs at the time and had three prior criminal convictions, one for theft and two for robbery.

The shop worker suffered minor bruising but the youth, who was accompanied to his hearing by his mother, did not use the hammer to strike her, the court also heard.

His family is getting assistance from the HSE and a youth mentor will be working with the boy to help him.

He has continued to use drugs but this is due to him suffering "stress" about the possibility of being charged in connection with other serious offences, the court heard.

Defence solicitor Maura Kiely said that he had significant problems in terms of his background and his family had suffered tragedy which left him significantly traumatised. He realises that the robbery was very serious, the lawyer also said.

Judge Ryan said it was a “very nasty incident” and was furnished with a psychiatric and probation reports on the teenager..

She said the boy was intelligent, had done well in school and while he had made significant steps, he needed to deal with his drug problem.

She imposed six-month term but suspended it on condition that he does not re-offend within the next year and accepts help from the Probation Service for his addiction problem.

She said he was responsible enough to know that if he commits another crime in the next 12 months, the sentence would be activated

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