Monday 23 October 2017

Jail for man who raided pharmacies and threatened staff at knife-point

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Stock Picture

Fiona Ferguson

A man who raided numerous pharmacies armed with a knife and threatened staff over a three month period after relapsing into drug use has been jailed for four and a half years.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Damien Murphy (40) had kept his drug addiction under control for many years. He had come into a sum of money but was “unable to cope” when the money ran out and relapsed.

Gardai outlined how Murphy had used the knife in a threatening way towards staff including putting it up to one person's throat. A four year old child was present during one of the robberies.

Murphy of Montpelier Drive, Dublin pleaded guilty to four robberies, one attempted robbery and production of a knife at various pharmacies in Dublin city centre on dates between December 2015 and February 2016. He has 38 previous convictions.

Judge Melanie Greally said considerable fear had been induced in the staff and customers present during the robberies and had real consequences for these people as outlined in the impact reports.

These effects included anxiety, fear in the workplace, panic attacks and in the case of one person post traumatic stress disorder.

She imposed concurrent sentences totalling six years and suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions including 12 months probation supervision.

Murphy, who had not come to garda attention for some time prior to these offences, made full admissions in relation to the robberies. He was caught after the final robbery when he was restrained by members of the public while trying to make his get away.

Garda Colm Kelly agreed with Luigi Rea BL, defending, that Murphy expressed self disgust at the offences.

He agreed Murphy said he had begun to binge on methadone and tablets and had little recollection of the incidents apart from seeing himself on CCTV. All offences were carried out close to his family home.

Mr Rea said Murphy had begun using heroin as a 13 year old but later attended for treatment and managed to keep his addiction under control by using methadone for many years.

He said Murphy had come into a sum of money legitimately and became used to having it and dispersing it among his family. He said that when it ran out he was unable to cope with the change in circumstances. He relapsed into heroin addiction and committed these offences.

He said Murphy was now clean of all drugs, including methadone and had huge support from his family. He said that all the signs were that Murphy was moving along with his life and urged the court to accept it was “make or break time” for his client.

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