Friday 15 December 2017

Jobless man 'who locked female employee into a toilet during robbery' refused bail

Balrothery, Balbriggan, Co Dublin Inset: Garda stock image
Balrothery, Balbriggan, Co Dublin Inset: Garda stock image

Andrew Phelan

A jobless man has been accused of locking a female betting shop worker into a toilet while he robbed the north county Dublin premises of just under €6,000.

Thomas O’Neill (44) was arrested at his home after gardai found his address on a lost betting slip claim form he is alleged to have filled out previously at the bookmakers.

Judge Dermot Dempsey refused to grant him bail at Swords District Court and remanded him in custody.

Mr O’Neill, of Ringsfort Avenue, Balrothery, is charged with robbery at a betting shop, also in Balrothery on January 21.

Garda Derek Dalton told the court he arrested the accused on January 22 at his home at 2.50am.

Mr O’Neill was brought to Balbriggan Garda Station, where he made no reply to the charge after caution.

Judge Dempsey amended the accused’s name on the charge from Thomas Savage to Thomas O’Neill, at the request of the garda.

Objecting to bail, Garda Dalton said it was alleged the accused went to the bookmakers at 9.30pm on January 21 and approached the staff member as she was about to lock up.

She was forced back into the bookies and the door was locked, Garda Dalton said.

The intruder allegedly took her behind the counter and locked her into toilets in the staff area.

A number of items were taken, as well as €5,940, it was alleged. The intruder left via a rear security door, leaving the staff member locked in the toilets. The key had been removed and gardai had to force their way in to free her.

When CCTV footage was viewed, she said the man involved had also been in the shop on a earlier date and completed a lost betting slip claim form. This had the accused’s address on it.

Gardai went there in the early hours of January 22 and carried out a search. It was alleged clothing was found which matched the description of the intruder’s and the accused was present at the address.

Garda Dalton said the charge was serious, carrying a serious custodial penalty on conviction.

He said a file had been sent to the DPP and a further serious charge could be proffered.

Mr O’Neill denied involvement in the alleged robbery at every stage, defence barrister Patrick Jackson said, applying for bail.

He said identification would be a “cornerstone” of the case and the person allegedly seen in the CCTV footage was masked. The only person to have allegedly seen him was not in court to give evidence, Mr Jackson added.

Judge Dempsey refused bail and remanded the defendant in custody, to appear in Cloverhill District Court on Friday.

He granted free legal aid after hearing the accused was in receipt of social welfare. There was no garda objection.

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