Sunday 22 September 2019

Homeless man who threatened shop staff and demanded €20,000 jailed for three years

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Stock photo

Fiona Ferguson

A homeless man who handed a threatening note into a shop demanding €20,000 with further weekly money installments has been jailed for three years.

Aoife O'Leary BL, defending, said her client Brendan Glynn (31) had acted in an “impulsive, bizarre and outlandish” way to attempt to get money, which was never going to work.

Glynn, of no fixed abode and who is currently in custody, pleaded guilty to demanding money with menaces at Spar, The Stiles Road, Clontarf, Dublin on July 16, 2017. He has 46 previous convictions.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Glynn had no connection to serious criminality and had no way of carrying out his threats.

Garda Niall McDonnell told Fiona Crawford BL, prosecuting, that Glynn had entered the store with his face partially covered and handed in a typed note for the owner.

The note demanded €20,000 and then €2,000 a week afterwards and contained threats including burning the shop down. It warned the owner not to contact gardaí and told him he was being watched.

The owner alerted gardaí and Glynn was arrested two days later. Glynn, who had also been begging outside another branch of Spar in the area, identified himself on CCTV.

Gda McDonnell agreed with Aoife O'Leary BL, defending, that it appeared to be a random and bizarre offence which was unlikely to work out for him.

He agreed that gardaí were able to reassure the victim that Glynn had no connection to serious criminality and he was not in a position to carry out any of his threats.

Ms O'Leary said it was an unusual offence which had been very frightening for the injured party and Glynn had asked her to apologise. She said the fact the note was typed showed some degree of effort but submitted there had been no planning put into bringing it to fruition.

She said Glynn, originally from Sligo, had been staying with family in the Dublin area at one point but they were no longer able to accommodate him and he had been “on the street” at the time. Ms O'Leary said drugs had been a huge issue for him since the age of 14 years old and he had been using heroin at the time of the offence.

Today, Judge Melanie Greally said “the content of the letter was such that it would instill extreme fear in the most firm of persons by reference to the persons who were mentioned in the correspondence”.

She gave Glynn credit for his guilty plea, that it was “not a sophisticated or particularly thought out endeavour” and that it had been committed while in the throes of addiction and homelessness.

Judge Greally imposed a four year sentence with the final 12 months suspended for that period. She ordered that Glynn follow all directions from The Probation Service, in particular to address his addictions.

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