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Judge sentences ‘menace to society’ to six and half years for robberies

A DRUG addict who went on a two-week robbery spree with a syringe and a knife in order to get money to buy his daughter a birthday present has been sentenced to six and a half years.

Michael Rooney Dignam was “strung out on drugs” at the time of the robberies and told gardai he couldn’t remember the details of the offences but admitted he had done them.

Dignam (31) of Rowlagh Crescent and St Mark’s Gardens, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty to robbery at Xtravision at Phibsboro Shopping Centre, on October 18, 2010. He also pleaded guilty to robbery at Xtravision, Sun Drive Road, on October 19, 2010. He further pleaded guilty to robbery at Daybreak shop, in Lucan, on October 23, 2010 and robbery at Xtravision, Ninth Lock Road, Clondalkin on October 23, 2010 and robbery at Centra Express in Templeogue, on October 26, 2010.

Garda Michael O’Brien told prosecuting counsel, Sean Guerin BL, Dignam went into Xtravision at Phibsboro Shopping Centre and argued about a Star Wars game for a Nintendo Wii and left. He returned with a syringe in his hand and grabbed the shop assistant’s wrist and shouted “This is a robbery,” before demanding him to open the till. Dignam grabbed €235 in cash.

Garda Barry O’Shea said Dignam entered Xtravision, in Clondalkin, and asked could he purchase phone credit. He held a kitchen knife with a four inch blade to the shop assistant’s neck and ordered her to open the cash register. He grabbed cash and ran from the shop.

Garda Gail O’Donoghue gave evidence Dignam walked into Daybreak, in Lucan, with a hood over his head and brandished a syringe. He demanded the shop assistant open the till and he grabbed €275 in cash.

Gda O’Donoghue also gave evidence that Dignam went into Xtravision, on Sun Drive Road, and lifted up his tracksuit bottoms asking the shop assistant for a plaster for a cut to his leg.

When the shop assistant gave him a plaster, Dignam pulled out a syringe and reached into a till and took cash. He also took five mobile phones.

Dignam jumped the counter at Xtravision, on the Ninth Lock Road, in Clondalkin, brandishing a syringe with no cover on the needle. He demanded the shop assistant open the till and he grabbed €400 in cash.

The court heard Dignam robbed Centra Xpress in Templeogue with a syringe. He grabbed €1,078 in cash and left the shop.

When arrested, Dignam, who has 27 previous convictions, initially told gardai he committed the robberies as he wanted money to buy his ten-year-old daughter a birthday present.

Defence counsel Tony McGillicuddy BL, said Dignam “never hurt anyone but just wanted money to buy drugs.”

“He was moved from pillar to post as a young person and started to dabble in alcohol at the age of nine and heroin at the age of 14.”

“He couldn’t remember the facts but he said he had done the robberies. He was strung out on heroin and cocaine,” defence counsel said.

Judge Martin Nolan said Dignam “became a terrifying individual to the people he robbed threatening them with syringes and knives.”

He said Dignam is a “menace to society” and sentenced him to six and a half years.