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Man who threatened heavily pregnant woman with knife during robbery jailed

A father of one who threatened a heavily pregnant staff member with a kitchen knife has been jailed for robbery and handling stolen vehicles.

Gardaí were suspicious of Robert Canning (31) when they spotted him sitting on a wall near a petrol station in the rain. They kept a close watch on him and minutes later saw him running from the station carrying a plastic bag.

Garda Killian Leydon told Maddie Grant BL, prosecuting, he and his colleague chased Canning on foot to a nearby estate where the robber was hiding in the bushes.

He was arrested and the officers spotted a number of notes hanging out of his pockets. There was a large kitchen knife and money in the plastic bag he was carrying.

The staff member, who was seven and half months pregnant at the time, later told gardaí that Canning came behind the counter and threatened her with a knife. She stood aside and he took €450 from the till.

Canning of Elm Mount Road, Beaumont pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to handling a stolen Nissan Qashqai, BMW and Nissan Primastar van at his home on February 4, 2014.

The Nissans were worth €7,000 each, while the BMW was worth €11,000. He told gardaí he had agreed to sell the cars to pay off a drug debt.

Canning also pleaded guilty to robbery of the Maxol Service Station in Artane on April 20, 2014. He was on bail for the handling charge when he carried out the robbery.

His 62 previous convictions include 50 for road traffic offences, while the remainder are for the misuse of drugs and possession of a stolen instrument all of which were dealt with in the District Court.

Judge Martin Nolan accepted that Canning had a drug problem and “needed money to discharge this debt” before he sentenced him to a consecutive prison term totalling 33 months.

Michael Hourigan BL, defending, said his client came from a respectable family and one of his brothers was a solicitor.

He told Judge Nolan that Canning had worked as a chef until he lost his job when he started abusing heroin. His relationship, from which he has a nine-year-old son, also broke down due to his drug habit and he began committing crime.

Canning had been granted High Court bail but didn’t take it up until November last year to allow him time to deal with his addiction while on remand in custody. He has since been re-arrested and remanded in custody for an alleged crime committed before the two before the court.

Online Editors