Wednesday 13 December 2017

Woman chased mugger for her phone – but it was in her handbag

Sonya McLean

A WOMAN chased after a mugger believing he had taken her phone but it later transpired that the phone was still in her handbag, a court has heard.

An off duty garda Nathan Burke, witnessed Wayne Cunningham attempting to mug Grace Donnelly and Ms Donnelly then chasing after him. He assisted her and followed Cunningham in his car, rolled down the window and shouted “stop, gardaí”.

He later continued the chase on foot and ultimately wrestled Cunningham to the ground on Charlemount Street.

Garda Jennifer Clancy told Monika Leech BL, prosecuting, that Cunningham struggled with Gda Burke as he was trying to restrain him and the garda requested Ms Donnelly to call the gardaí.

Ms Donnelly’s phone then rang in her handbag and she realised that it must have fallen in there as Cunningham was trying to grab it.

Cunningham (25) of French Mullen Flats, Charlemont Street, Dublin 2, received a 12 month suspended sentence.

He had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempted robbery at Adelaide Road on March 29, 2011 and has two previous District Court convictions for public order offences.

Gda Clancy said she was on routine patrol at the time when a cyclist knocked on her car window to tell her that he saw a man chasing another man across the Luas tracks.

She then arrived on Charlemount Street to find Gda Burke holding down Cunningham and assisted in arresting him.

Gda Clancy said Cunningham was later brought to Harcourt Garda Station and a search revealed that he had a knife with him.

A victim impact statement from Ms Donnelly stated that she is more cautious and is wary of strange people approaching her.

Gda Clancy agreed with Breffni Gordon BL, defending, that his client’s mother witnessed his arrest and was so outraged with his behaviour that Cunningham was lucky the gardaí arrived when they did.

She further accepted that Cunningham has not come to garda attention since.

Judge Desmond Hogan described it as “an opportunistic crime that was nonetheless unsuccessful”.

He said Cunningham was before the court because of a vigilant off-duty garda.

Judge Hogan accepted that although it later transpired that Cunningham had a knife, he had not used it during the mugging or in the subsequent struggle with Gda Burke.

Judge Hogan said it would be “unduly harsh” to send Cunningham to jail and said he would give him a chance.

He sentenced him to 12 months in prison which he suspended in full on condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for that time and carry out 240 hours community service.

Judge Hogan adjourned the case to May to allow for the preparation of a Probation Service report to assess Cunningham’s suitability for the community service

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