Man who carried out armed raid on local petrol station jailed
A qualified plumber who carried out an armed raid on his local petrol station in order to pay off drug and gambling debts has avoided a jail sentence.
Jamie Shorthall (30) pointed an imitation firearm at shop worker Phil Collins and ordered him to open the cash tills. €1,100 in cash was taken before Shorthall made his getaway on a bicycle.
The court heard Shorthall has since attended for residential treatment at Coolmine and is progressing well in his rehabilitation. He will finish his program in February 2018.
Garda Declan Cushell told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Mr Collins was frightened and handed over the cash before Shortall, who was dressed in a white boiler suit and a black balaclava, made his getaway.
Gda Cushell said that the firearm was a realistic looking replica of a Glock pistol and that the victim did not know it was an imitation.
Shorthall, of Monkstown Farm, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery and possession of an offensive weapon at the Applegreen service station, Monkstown, Dublin on June 17, 2015.
His 20 convictions include burglary, criminal damage and theft. Justin McQuade BL, defending, said his client had relapsed into difficulties with cocaine and gambling problems and that he owed money.
He said Shorthall's father had repeatedly paid out money to menacing individuals who would come to the family home demanding money for drug and gambling debts.
Patrick Shorthall, who works as a respected painter and decorator in the local area, testified that he had paid out up to €14,000 to these people on his son's behalf.
Mr Shorthall said his son had been a hard-working plumber but that he was always trying to impress the wrong people. “I always said, he needs a good shake,” he told the court.
A psychological report handed to the court stated that the accused was under duress at the time and had received threats to the life of his family.
Judge John Aylmer said he was most impressed by Shortall's progress. He imposed an 18-month sentence which he suspended in full on strict conditions including completing his treatment with Coolmine Therapeutic Community.