Saturday 24 March 2018

Man who robbed two shops in five minutes for cash to bring girlfriend out on Valentine's Day found hiding in wardrobe by gardai

The Hartstown Shopping Centre
The Hartstown Shopping Centre

Sonya McLean

A robber who raided two shops in five minutes in order to get cash to bring his girlfriend out for Valentine’s night has been sentenced to two and half years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Sean Powell (23) was arrested after gardaí spotted his getaway car outside a house. He was found hiding in a wardrobe in a bedroom when officers saw his feet sticking out from underneath the clothes in the closet.

He was considered unfit for interview for four hours after his arrest because he was so intoxicated.

Powell later made admissions to gardaí and said he robbed the shops because he was going “to bring my girlfriend out for Valentine’s”. The court heard that the couple, who have one daughter, got engaged last week.

Powell of Wellview Park, Ladyswell, Dublin 15, pleaded guilty to robbery of Eurospar and Carry Out Off Licence both in Hartstown Shopping Centre on January 27, 2014. He has seven previous convictions for minor offences which were all dealt with in the District Court.

Judge Martin Nolan accepted Powell made admissions and was “a reasonably good man” when not abusing substances. He also acknowledged his efforts to rehabilitate.

He said he didn’t think a custodial sentence could be avoided and sentenced Powell to two and half years. He suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions including that he remain under the supervision of the Probation Service for a year upon his release from prison.

Garda Alan Barry told Cormac Quinn BL, prosecuting, that Powell took cash from the till in the Eurospar while the cashier was getting his change after he tried to buy cigarettes.

He ran out of the shop. When the assistant manager followed him he produced a knife to scare the man off. Powell later escaped in an Alfa Romeo.

Five minutes later Powell went into the off license, produced a knife and threatened to stab the worker if he didn’t hand over cash. He took €375 and a bottle of whiskey before he ran out of the shop.

Gda Barry said Powell was “a pleasant young man to deal with as long as he isn’t under the influence”.

He agreed with Alice Harrison BL, defending, that Powell had no convictions prior to 2010, when his father died and he started to abuse alcohol and drugs.

Gda Barry accepted that Powell said he couldn’t remember the three days prior to the robberies as he had been drinking and taking drugs.

He further accepted that he showed remorse and apologised to the staff of the shops and his family during garda interview.

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