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Men jailed for using toy gun in raid farce

TWO would-be robbers who tried to hold up a Spar shop with a toy gun have been jailed by Judge Martin Nolan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Christopher McDonald (29) of Waterfall Court, Richmond Road, and Paul Dowdall (27) of Spencer Dock, Sheriff Street, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and having an imitation firearm at Spar in Marino Market on December 7, 2012.

The pair had to flee from the shop after a staff member pressed the panic button and McDonald injured himself after breaking glass on a door to get out.

McDonald later told gardai he needed a toy gun he was carrying "for his own protection".

McDonald has 53 previous convictions including robbery, hijacking, escape from lawful custody as well as road traffic and public order offences.

Dowdall has 24 previous convictions including handling stolen goods, theft and road traffic offences.

Judge Nolan said the chief distinguishing feature between the two was the level of previous convictions. He imposed a three-and-a-half-year sentence on McDonald and a two-year sentence on Dowdall.


Garda Paul Kelly told Vincent Heneghan, prosecuting, that a staff member at Spar spotted the masked men entering the shop. McDonald was carrying the gun and pointed it at the shop assistant, telling him to get to the ground.

The staff member ran behind the counter and pushed the panic button. Dowdall made his escape but McDonald was trapped by a door sliding shut. He broke glass on the door to get out, causing himself a significant leg injury.

Garda Kelly said he was in the area and approached the two men in Fairview Park. He stopped them and McDonald admitted he had a toy gun in his jacket.

The men were arrested and co-operated with gardai, admitting their involvement.

Garda Kelly agreed with Mr John Aylmer, defending McDonald, that the toy gun used in the offence had been left behind broken and it was a second toy gun found on McDonald later.

He agreed that McDonald required hospital treatment for his injury prior to interview.

Garda Kelly agreed with Gerardine Small, defending Dowdall, that her client never had possession of the gun and that he had become involved in the offence in the role of "keeping sketch" because he owed money for sleeping tablets.