A Dublin drug addict who tricked an old school acquaintance into giving him a lift to rob a Tesco Express store has received a three year suspended sentence.
Francis McGowan (42) had asked to borrow two euro for a packet of chewing gum from his innocent acquaintance before heading into the shop in a high-vis jacket, sunglasses and carrying a luminous bag.
The father-of-four robbed Eur300 from the shop by pointing a plastic gun at the cashier.
He tried to get his acquaintance to drive away at speed and break a red light, but the innocent acquaintance refused and McGowan got out of the car a short distance away.
McGowan, of Ballyogan Lawn, Ballyogan, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbing Tesco Express, The Park Shopping Centre, Cabinteely on June 25, 2013. He has 23 previous convictions as District Court level.
Garda John Gormley told Vincent Heneghan BL, prosecuting, that the acquaintance revealed he had commented on McGowan’s “desperate” demeanour to his brother shortly before the robbery.
Gda Gormley said the man had agreed to do McGowan a favour with the lift to the shop without knowing about the robbery plan.
McGowan later handed himself in at a garda station and admitted he had committed the robbery with a BB gun he had bought in Spain some years previously.
Gda Gormley agreed with Ronan Kennedy BL, defending, that McGowan apologised for his behaviour during interview.
Mr Kennedy submitted to Judge Mary Ellen Ring that his client’s offence had “all the hallmarks of something which is very amateurish and ill thought out” due to his choice of clothing.
He said McGowan had been devastated by the loss of a previous employment and despaired at the thought he would not be able to support his family.
Judge Ring noted that McGowan is still struggling with a drug addiction after nearly 30 years.
She acknowledged he hasn’t come to adverse garda attention since and suspended the three year sentence for three years.
She ordered that he undergo 12 months Probation Service supervision.