Wednesday 24 January 2018

Six-year sentence for robbery of elderly man’s off licence

Sonya McLean

A FATHER-OF-ONE has been jailed for six years for his role in a robbery in which a 70-year-old off licence owner was terrorised and struck with a hammer.

Keith O’Connor, who turns 27 tomorrow was armed with a knife while his co-accused Derek Brady (48) hit the elderly victim twice over the head with a hammer.

A third man, who has never been brought before the courts, was carrying a baseball during the raid.

The court heard that the victim had been running his off licence, Brackens, on Botanic Road in Glasnevin for over 20 years before the robbery.

He has since had to close his business because he was left so traumatised by the incident that he could not work in the off-license alone again. He had received three stitches to his head as well as cuts and bruises.

O’Connor of Meakstown Cottages, Dubber Cross, Finglas, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery at Bracken’s Off Licence on November 22, 2010.

He also admitted to having heroin for sale or supply, valued at €3,150 on St Margaret’s Road, Finglas on October 14, 2011 for which he received a concurrent three year jail term.

O’Connor has 39 previous convictions, mostly for District Court offences which included assault, public order, theft and criminal damage.

Brady of Glenhill Road, Finglas, was given an eight year sentence in July after he pleaded guilty to the robbery offence.

He had 78 previous convictions and was on temporary release from a ten year robbery sentence in the UK when he took part in the raid. He is currently serving a two and a half year sentence for a separate robbery also committed in Ireland some months later.

Garda Mark Duffy told Paul Carroll BL, prosecuting, that Brady told the victim: “If you don’t tell me where the rest of the money is I will open your skull.”

He demanded money from the till before locking the man in a store room.

They dragged the traumatised man back out, threatened him again and demanded to know where the safe was.

Gardai arrived in the middle of the robbery and called for back up after they struggled with Brady and O’Connor who made their escape after smashing their way through a skylight to get up onto a roof.

Gda Duffy agreed with Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, that O’Connor was the least violent of the three raiders and had offered the victim a drink of water in the store room.

He got upset when gardaí showed him CCTV footage of the robbery and said; “There was no need to hit him with a hammer, a slap would have done”.

When asked if he thought the man was frightened he replied; “Fucking right, yeah. He was on the verge of having a heart attack”.

He later said “I felt sorry for the auld fella” and explained that he had been told to keep an eye on him in the store room.

“He said his bad ticker was at him, so I brought him some water,” O’Connor said and told gardaí that he had also offered to bring the man outside for fresh air.

“I feel lower than low, I feel lower than dirt. I am a scumbag,” O’Connor told gardai.

He said he had got involved in the robbery to get money for his son for Christmas and explained he was hoping to get €400 out of the job.

Gda Duffy agreed with Mr Le Vert that his client was in a hit and run accident as a young child and suffered serious head injuries as a result. He was hospitalised for a prolonged period and had to undergo intensive rehabilitation.

Judge Nolan said the victim was still living with the “predictable consequences” of the robbery.

“His peace of mind and quality of life have been affected greatly,” the judge.

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