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Thief who robbed blind man at ATM caught on Dublin Bus camera

"The lowest of the low." That was the verdict of a judge on the knifepoint robbery of a blind man, by 35-year-old Dubliner Benny Rice.

Judge Katherine Delahunt gave him a three-and-a-half year jail sentence as well as reactivating a three-year sentence for another offence committed the day after the robbery of blind man Tony Murray (30) at a city centre ATM.

The blind victim was taking cash out of an ATM beside Wynn's hotel on Lower Abbey St in March 2008 when he heard whispering behind him.

Rice, who has 21 previous convictions, and another man already dealt with by the courts, then approached him.

Garda Carol Byrne from Store St station told the Circuit Criminal Court that the victim, who is totally blind and uses a white cane, felt a man reaching around his throat as he was taking €100 out of the ATM.

He heard the man say that he would "cut his throat" if he did not give him the money.

A security man in the vicinity shouted at the two men. As they fled with the victim's cash and ATM card, he rang 999 and then gave chase to D'Olier St where the two robbers jumped on a bus.

The thieves got off the bus nearby and got into a taxi. But a study of CCTV footage on the bus revealed their identities and Rice was interviewed in Cloverhill prison by Garda Byrne.

He admitted his involvement but said he did not realise the man was blind or he would not have carried out the robbery.

The victim told the court in an impact report that "he could never relax in town again" after the incident.

cmallon@herald.ie


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