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Desperate dad jailed for raid on off-licence

A DESPERATE father walked into an off-licence pretending to have a knife in his pocket and demanded money from the frightened shop assistant, a court heard.

Martin Ward (23) was in need of money after he lost his job, there was a delay in him getting social welfare and he had used up all his savings.

The court heard Ward's wife was pregnant with their second child at the time of the incident, and he was under huge pressure as he also owed money to his family.


The defendant, of Hazelwood Cottages, Batter Lane, Swords, admitted before Swords District Court to a charge of robbery.

The incident took place at the Unwined Off-Licence, North Street, Swords, on August 25, last year.

Garda Sergeant Paul Madden said Ward walked into the off-licence and intimated to the assistant that he had a knife in his pocket.

Sgt Madden said Ward demanded that the shopkeeper open the till, and he made off with €170 in cash. The sergeant said Ward fled the scene in a car, and the shopkeeper took down the registration number.

Gardai later called to Ward's home, and he admitted to the offence. The money was also recovered.

Sgt Madden said Ward did not have a knife in his pocket, but was holding a bunch of keys.

Defence lawyer John Costello said Ward left school before the Junior Certificate but always worked, most recently as a retail manager.


However, he lost his job last July, and at the time of this offence he was still waiting to receive social welfare, and was under huge financial pressures.

Mr Costello also said Ward's wife was pregnant with their second child, they had used up all their savings, and had borrowed money from friends and family for food.

The court heard the robbery was "a moment of madness" by Ward, who has never been in trouble before.

Judge Patrick Brady fined the defendant €500 and sentenced him to eight months in prison.