Saturday 21 April 2018

Text-a-getaway driver fell 'under the spell' of gang members

Nicole Gibson received text messages to collect thieves
Nicole Gibson received text messages to collect thieves
Nicole Gibson

Greg Harkin

A YOUNG woman who operated a text-a-getaway driver service for burglars and fell "under the spell" of other gang members has had the case against her struck out after a judge was told she was now studying to be a social worker.

Nicole Gibson (21) offered criminals her services to help them make a clean getaway after robberies across Co Donegal in February 2012.

Gibson had pleaded guilty to three counts of theft and three counts of handling stolen goods.

She admitted helping move a range of stolen goods including a motorbike and copper wire worth thousands of euro in her own car. Gibson, a trainee hairdresser from Raphoe, Co Donegal, even hooked up a trailer to her car to transport the goods to a scrap-metal yard.

She appeared in court again yesterday after a judge ordered a probation report on her.

A previous sitting of Letterkenny District Court heard Gibson was charged with three different incidents including break-ins at a school and private houses over a six-day period.

She responded to the requests in removing stolen goods on three occasions which were before the courts, including a robbery at Royal & Prior School in Raphoe.

"She would be at home and would get a text message to pick people up," said Garda Eoin Waters. In the case of the school, she had hooked up a trailer to her car to make off with garden equipment stolen from the premises, including an expensive Kawasaki quad bike.

On two other occasions – in Manorcunningham and St Johnston – she collected criminals and thousands of euro worth of copper stolen from houses under construction in the area.

Gda Waters said €3,300 worth of copper was stolen in the incidents – and €700 in damage done to the properties.

Gibson, whose address in court was given as Meadow Hill, Raphoe, but who now lives at The Green, Convoy, would then distribute the cash from the sold metals to the thieves. "The copper was sold to a scrapyard in Derry," said Gda Waters.

Pleading for leniency, solicitor for the accused Kieran Dillon said his client was the victim of other gang members: "She was used by other people and is still in recovery from a very serious incident when she was younger. She fell under their spell and became involved in things she regrets."

The court heard that Gibson wanted to go on to third-level education and become a social worker.

Judge Paul Kelly struck out all matters against Gibson and said he was aware that she had paid a sum of compensation.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News