Wednesday 22 November 2017

Woman broke Yankee candle over the head of beauty salon robber as she was getting her nails done

Gerard Halpin. Photo: Courtpix
Gerard Halpin. Photo: Courtpix

Conor Gallagher

A woman broke a Yankee candle over the head of an acquaintance when he robbed a beauty salon as she was getting her nails done.

Gerard Halpin (40) was jailed for six and a half years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for the robbery and for breaking into a house and telling the occupant not to scream or he'd kill her.

Halpin of Corduff Grove, Blanchardstown, Dublin pleaded guilty to the burglary which occurred on December 19, 2013. He was convicted by a jury last week of the salon robbery and possession of a knife which occurred on December 23, 2014.

The court heard that Halpin entered the beauty salon Urban Dolls in Corduff Shopping Centre while wearing latex gloves and armed with a kitchen knife. He grabbed the owner Sarah White by the neck and put a knife to her back before walking her towards the till.

Halpin was wearing a scarf over his face but a customer, Emma Kelly, recognised him. She lived in the area and had known Halpin all her life.

Halpin ordered Ms White to open the till but Ms Kelly closed it and said “What the fuck are you at Gerard?” She told Ms White not to give him any money but Halpin raised the knife above his head and said “back off Emma.”

Ms Kelly then picked up a Yankee candle from a display case and smashed it over Halpin's head.

Halpin fled with Ms Kelly close behind shouting his name. She followed him as he cycled to his father's home a few hundred yards from the salon.

Ms Kelly saw Halpin in the bedroom window changing his clothes. She knocked on the door and Halpin answered. He was sweating, breathing heavily and had changed his clothes. He claimed he had just been in the kitchen having a cup of tea.

Garda Adrian Kildea told prosecution counsel Pieter Le Vert BL that a garda search of the house found the gloves in an open safe in an upstairs bedroom.

Halpin, who has 38 previous convictions and a long history of drug abuse, denied the robbery and claimed he had left the house just once that day to go to the pharmacy.

A victim impact report from Ms White stated she had lost a lot of business because of the raid as well as the €480 that was stolen. She said she was now thinking of closing down the salon.

The court also heard evidence of a burglary by Halpin at Castlecurragh Heath, Mulhuddart. He later admitted to gardaí that he went out “looking for gear” and rang the bell of a house three times before breaking in.

A woman was in one of the bedrooms and tried to stop Halpin getting in. He forced his way in and grabbed her phone from her. He told her “don't scream or I'll kill you” before taking her laptop and leaving.

As he left he also met another resident and warned her to be quiet or he'd kill her.

The women saw him getting into a BMW 3 Series car and driving away. He was caught shortly afterwards and admitted the burglary. He said he was “off my head” on tablets and got the wrong house.

James Dwyer BL, defending, said Halpin had twins with his partner. He said he came from a severely dysfunctional family and his childhood home “was not a happy place.”

Judge Sarah Berkeley imposed a three year term for the burglary and five years for the robbery.

Both sentences are to run consecutively as Halpin was on bail during the robbery. She suspended the final 18 months of the eight year term.

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