Friday 14 December 2018

Man (26) with 22 previous convictions is jailed for three years after violent city centre robberies

One of the robberies took place on Mary's Lane in Dublin's Smithfield. Pic; Google Maps
One of the robberies took place on Mary's Lane in Dublin's Smithfield. Pic; Google Maps

Isabel Hayes and Declan Brennan

A man who took part in the violent robberies of two men has been jailed for three years.

Anthony McDonnell (26) was one of three men who attacked the robbery victims. The victims were kicked and punched and one man lost consciousness during the attack.

McDonnell, with an address at Georges Hill Apartments, Smithfield, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of robbery in Mary's Lane and Cuckoo Lane in Dublin city centre on May 1, 2017.

His co-accused, Thomas Jackson (21), a homeless man, was yesterday jailed for two years. Judge Martin Nolan sentenced him to four-and-a-half year sentence with the final two-and-a-half years suspended.

Sentencing McDonnell today Judge Nolan said McDonnell deserved a longer prison sentence as he was older than Jackson at the time of the offence and had an “extensive criminal record”. McDonnell has 22 previous convictions, including assault and public order offences.

Judge Nolan handed down a four-and-a-half year sentence and suspended the final 18 months on a number of conditions.

Garda Paul Comerford told John Fitzgerald BL, prosecuting, that the first victim, a Brazilian man, was walking home when he met McDonnell, Jackson and another man.

The men blocked his way. The victim later told gardaí he thought immediately he was in trouble and he began running.

One of the attackers managed to grab the victim's backpack and pulled the victim to the ground. The men began kicking and punching the victim and shouted at him to hand over his phone.

The victim was genuinely in fear for his life and tried to protect his head and face from the blows, the court heard.

Gda Comerford told the court that a short time later a second man, Mohammed Akbar, was walking home when he saw the three men. The men shoved him and asked Mr Akbar to hand over his phone.

Mr Akbar ran down Cuckoo Lane but the attackers caught him by the hood of his jacket and pulled him back.

One man began punching Mr Akbar while the others tried to stop him shielding his head with his arms by pulling his arms down.

The court heard that Mr Akbar was knocked out for a few seconds and when he regained consciousness, he saw his assailants running off. The men had taken a phone and wallet with the key to his flat in it.

He ran in their direction and approached them to ask them to give him back the keys to his flat. One of the men walked over to him and punched in the side of the head and then all three got into a car and drove away.

Mr Akbar suffered a broken wrist which left him unable to take care of himself. The Indian national was living alone here and had to return to India to be cared for by his family.

He has since returned to Dublin but feels more nervous walking around the city, the court heard.

The first victim was left with broken teeth which he has not being able to afford to repair. He also suffered bruising around his body.

Defence counsel, Keith Spencer BL, said his client was remorseful and regretted his behaviour that night.

He said McDonnell, who left school at the age of 16, was heavily intoxicated and on drugs when he committed the robberies. He said McDonnell suffered from drug addiction but had managed to change his life around in the months prior to the offences.

“On the night, he succumbed to temptation,” Mr Spencer said. “He took tablets when he shouldn't have and he set all (his progress) at nought.”

He urged Judge Nolan to impose a sentence that was similar to the one imposed on his co-accused.

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