Robbery spree sees couple jailed
A man and woman who were involved in a robbery spree in which staff at four newsagents were threatened with an implement have been jailed.
David Fitzgerald (34), of Glenshane Crescent, Tallaght, Dublin 24 and Andrea Taylor (33), of Carriglea Walk, Firhouse, Dublin 24, pleaded guilty to charges arising out of a spate of robberies in Dublin within an eight-day period in September 2012.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Fitzgerald went in to each of the shops, while Taylor drove the getaway car.
Garda Áine Bolton told Fionnuala O'Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that the charges arose out of four robberies. Both defendants were jointly accused in relation to each robbery, said counsel.
In one incident, Fitzgerald directed an employee at a newsagents in Fortunestown Shopping Centre to open the cash till. He had something in his hand which looked like a blade. The till was opened and he took around €500. Taylor was driving the getaway car.
In another incident, at Aylesbury Shopping Centre in Tallaght, two employees were ordered by Fitzgerald to open the cash till. They did so and he took more than €600 in cash. He was holding a knife.
In the third incident, in Knocklyon, a staff member was ordered to “open the till”, before €355 in cash was taken by Fitzgerald, who had what was described as “a very large knife” in this hand.
In the fourth incident, in Ballinteer, a similar order was made by Fitzgerald, who was carrying a knife inside his sleeve. However, an employee ran from behind the counter to the back of the shop and he fled.
Both Fitzgerald and Taylor made admissions to gardaí.
Ms O'Sullivan told Judge Martin Nolan that Taylor was the driver of the car and she was aware that Fitzgerald had a knife and was going to commit robbery with the knife.
Both defendants were suffering from addiction to crack, the court heard.
Judge Nolan heard that Taylor did not have any previous convictions, while Fitzgerald had 24 previous convictions.
Counsel for Taylor, Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, said the admissions made by his client were “of great significant assistance” and she was extremely co-operative.
Fitzgerald's Counsel Damien Colgan SC said there was no intention to hurt anybody during what he described as a “robbery spree”. His client is currently on methadone.
Judge Nolan said, “The facts are pretty simple. Both of them committed four robberies.”
“Mr Fitzgerald entered the premises, threatened staff with implements, took the money and left. Ms Taylor knew he was going to commit the robberies.”
He said Fitzgerald was “more than likely trying to raise money to feed his addiction”. He imposed a four-year jail sentence on Fitzgerald and deducted nine months, to take into account time spent in custody.
He said Taylor was “involved in serious criminal offences. She knew he was going to rob these premises, yet she participated by driving the getaway car. She should be old enough and mature enough to know what she did was very wrong.”
He said the crimes were “too serious and too numerous” to impose a suspended sentence. He jailed her for 21 months.