Monday 19 August 2019

Man who claimed to be 'off my head on crack' when carrying out 13 robberies jailed

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Stock picture

Sonya McLean and Fiona Ferguson

A man who claimed to be “off my head on crack” when he carried out 13 robberies over three months has been given a nine year sentence.

David Dunne (35) was ultimately nominated as a suspect after most of the raids were captured on CCTV footage. While he was being questioned by gardaí in relation to the final robbery he admitted his motivation behind the crimes was to feed his drug habit.

“That's not me when I'm like that, I just wanted money for drugs,” Dunne told officers.

He apologised to his victims during garda interview and said that his addiction was out of control.

“It's more like I'm sick,” he said before he added that he had sold his car for €300 and the money was spent on drugs within the hour.

Dunne of Summerhill, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to a total of 13 robberies carried out in various convenience stores, fast food restaurants and petrol stations in Dublin on dates between July 28 and September 5, 2017.

His 92 previous convictions included robbery, burglary, hi-jacking, aggravated burglary, theft, possession of firearms, assault and handling stolen property.

Judge Elma Sheahan said she was mindful of the fact that there were 13 victims involved and each of the offences were individually very serious.

She noted he had expressed a wish to rehabilitate himself and said it was in the interest of society that he become drug free as he had previously managed to do in the past.

Judge Sheahan imposed consecutive sentences totalling nine years and suspended the final year on strict conditions including engaging in victim focused work and attending residential drug treatment if directed.

Garda Mark McDaid told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that during each of the raids staff were threatened with a knife before Dunne either took cash from the till or took the till itself. He robbed more than €2,640 in cash and cigarettes after leaving staff in fear.

Dunne had an accomplice with him on some occasions and during one of these raids his fellow robber locked Dunne into the shop after he fled the scene. Dunne had to smash a window to make good his escape.

Gda McDaid said Dunne's home was searched after he was identified from various pieces of CCTV footage and some items of clothing that had been worn during some of the robberies was seized.

He was interviewed on September 6, 2017 after officers became aware that he was being detained in Store Street having just carried out the final robbery the previous day. He made admissions and co-operated with the investigation.

Gda McDaid agreed with Michael Hourigan BL, defending, that Dunne had “an all consuming addiction to crack cocaine and heroin” at the time but he now “physically appears” very different to the man he had been at the time of his arrest.

He accepted that Dunne claimed he never intended to use the knives but acknowledged that he had them with him to open the tills and “create fear”.

Gda McDaid agreed with counsel that Dunne told officers he was not proud of what he had done and accepted that his victims would have been in fear.

Garda Patrick Gallagher said the final robbery occurred on September 5, 2017 when Dunne produced a knife at a staff member after he attempted to buy a bar of chocolate for the purpose of getting the till opened. He ultimately took €800 during the raid after taking notes from two registers.

He was again identified through CCTV footage and later told gardaí he was “off my head on crack”.

Mr Hourigan told Judge Sheahan that a detailed probation report before the court “outlined a number of issues throughout Dunne's youth”.

He said Dunne was first detained at juvenile detention centre at the age of 10 and he had since been “less than two years at liberty”.

“He found himself somewhat institutionalised without supports and fell into drugs use,” Mr Hourigan said.

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