Thursday 12 December 2019

Drug addict jailed after being caught mugging woman by passing detective

Criminal Courts of Justice
Criminal Courts of Justice

Declan Brennan

A drug addict was caught in the middle of robbing a woman when a passing detective heard her screams for help, a court has heard.

Judge James O’Donohoe jailed Fintan Phelan (30) today for six months for carrying out the attempted robbery during which Phelan got into the passenger seat of a car stopped at traffic lights.

Phelan of Harcourt Street, Dublin was serving a suspended sentence at the time for robbery.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the attempted robbery of Lorraine Maloney at the North Circular Road, Dublin on February 23, 2012.

He also admitted assaulting a police officer during an unrelated incident on Dame Street, Dublin city on August 19, 2012. Gardai investigating a robbery of Scottish tourists in the city centre arrested Phelan a short time after the robbery and found the stolen cash on him.

During the arrest Phelan lashed out at Garda Patrick Keane, who then used his pepper spray on Phelan, the court heard.

Judge O’Donohoe imposed a three month sentence for the assault. Both sentences are consecutive to each other and to the sentence Phelan is already serving.

In January 2009 he was sentenced to seven years with four suspended for an offence of robbery. He was released in January 2011. The suspended sentence was activated after Phelan carried out the attempted robbery.

Garda David Morris  told John Quirke BL, prosecuting, that Phelan had gotten into the passenger seat of the stopped car and told the driver: “I don’t want to hurt you. I just want your phone”.

The victim, a nurse who was driving home from work, threw her phone at him. She then paniced and rolled down her window and screamed for help.

Detective John McCarthy, a garda based in Santry who was walking home from the nearby Courts of Criminal Justice building, heard the screams and arrested Phelan.

Counsel said he was caught “red handed”. Phelan's 43 previous convictions include convictions for robbery, theft, assault, criminal damage and drug dealing.

Damien Colgan SC, defending, said his client was battling a serious drug addiction at the time and was taking a drug called Snowblow.

Judge O’Donohoe noted that while in custody Phelan had engaged with education programmes and has begun studying for the Leaving Cert English examination

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