Monday 18 December 2017

Crystal meth addict who committed 16 robberies in 12 months is jailed for eight years

Judge Nolan noted that Ryan's robberies “covered a complete ambit, with knives and syringes as weapons”.
Judge Nolan noted that Ryan's robberies “covered a complete ambit, with knives and syringes as weapons”.

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Dublin crystal meth addict who committed 16 robberies within 12 months has been jailed for eight years.

Patrick Ryan (37) told Judge Martin Nolan that he'd had nowhere to live after his release from a three year sentence and ended up in a “crack house” where he took crystal meth.

Ryan said he spent all of the €51,000 he'd gotten from a legal settlement and found himself €13,000 in debt because of his crystal meth habit. He blamed the drug for his spate of robberies between January 2014 and January 2015.

Ryan, with an address at Friary Grove, Smithfield, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbing cash amounts ranging from €136 to €1,400 at shops, petrol stations and businesses around the city between January 31, 2014 and January 4, 2015.

He also pleaded guilty to robbing phones and cash amounts from individuals over the same period.

He has 129 previous convictions, including 12 robberies, 18 aggravated burglaries and two false imprisonment offences.

Judge Nolan noted that Ryan's robberies “covered a complete ambit, with knives and syringes as weapons”.

He further noted that the ages of Ryan's victims ranged from young to elderly, with one man being 79-years-old, but acknowledged that no “actual violence” had been used in any of the crimes.

Judge Nolan said he was taking into account Ryan's guilty pleas, his “sad” background and genuine ambition of reform.

He imposed a ten-year sentence with consecutive elements and suspended the final two years of the total term.

Garda Tara Dolan told Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, that Ryan robbed an iPhone 5 from a woman who had been standing in a doorway on North Great George's Street on May 5, 2014.

The woman and her friend had been looking up directions when Ryan produced a knife and demanded her phone.

Two days later he similarly robbed €200 from a staff member at a hair studio who was seven months pregnant at the time.

Gda Dolan said the woman attended hospital later that day as she was concerned about the effects of the robbery on her unborn child.

The next day, on May 8, Ryan approached a woman on North Great Denmark Street with a clipboard and claimed he was collecting for charity.

The woman gave him €1 and gave her first name when he asked. Ryan then followed her to North Circular Road, produced a knife and took her wallet and phone.

Garda John Sanderson told Mr Coffey that a Parnell Street fabric store worker decided to lock the door as she'd had a “feeling” about Ryan when he'd entered and left the premises moments before.

As she was locking the door, Ryan appeared with a clipboard in his hand and asked her for money for disabled people.

He then showed her what looked like a syringe and robbed money from the till and her phone.

Gda Sanderson said Ryan produced an imitation firearm as he robbed a 79-year-old staff member at a Parnell Street electronics shop on December 23, 2014.

He went into the shop and told the elderly man he wanted to show him something before taking out a black handled gun, which the victim thought was real.

Garda Wayne Donnelly told the court that on Christmas Eve 2014, a Kinlay House Hostel security guard opened the door to Ryan after he had been banging on the door.

The security guard offered to give him the number of another hostel as Kinlay House Hostel had been closed for Christmas but Ryan demanded money and threatened to stab him with a syringe.

Ryan pushed the security guard behind the reception desk, took a key from the man's pocket and robbed €600 and a phone.

The gardaí in each case agreed with Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, that his client made “prompt admissions” during interviews for the robberies he could recollect.

Ryan told Judge Nolan that he had been drug free for two years before being paid €51,000 and had had a mortgage on a house in the past.

He said that four of his siblings had died from drugs and related difficulties.

Ryan said he was now drug free and added that when free from the habit, he had no reason to commit robberies.

Mr O'Higgins submitted that Ryan had entered early guilty pleas to the robberies and had come forward on signed pleas in some of the cases.

He said the offences “lacked a degree of sophistication” as Ryan had made no attempt to disguise himself and was identified from CCTV in almost every case.

Counsel said a psychological report on his client made for “grim reading” and referred the judge to incidents in Ryan's childhood when he had to sleep in the dog's kennel to avoid his violent parents.

He said Ryan is of low intelligence and has scars from multiple suicide attempts.

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