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Thug mugged elderly milkman

A MAN who robbed the takings of an elderly milkman who had years earlier given him a job as a teenager is to be sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Neville Burnett (22) now also faces reactivation of a partially suspended five-year sentence imposed in 2008 for the aggravated burglary of a neighbour's home to get money to feed his drug habit.

The final two years of that sentence were suspended on strict conditions including that he be of good behaviour.

Burnett, who has 40 previous convictions for offences including burglary, arson and assault, pleaded guilty to robbery of €1,900 from the 64-year-old milkman at Ballyogan Lawns, Carrickmines on March 13, 2009. Burnett, with an address at nearby Ballyogan Court, also pleaded guilty to unlawful taking of his girlfriend's car, criminal damage to a garda patrol van and dangerous driving in the Sandyford area on February 8, 2009.

His co-accused in the robbery, Garrett Aston (29) of Ballyogan Lawns, Carrickmines, was given a 15-month prison sentence in March last for his role in the offence.

Garda Liam Ward told Colm O'Briain, prosecuting, that the milkman was on his rounds in Ballyogan Lawns when two men wearing hoodies came up to him and made a grab at his leather money pouch.

He managed to hold on to it but was hit to the back, neck and face and knocked to the ground.

Burnett and Aston made off with the money in the pouch totalling €1,900. The men did not speak at any stage.

The milkman told gardai that only his family and two men who had worked with him some years previously would know his routine. Burnett was one of those men.

The man suffered bruising in the attack and finds himself waking up "screaming and shouting as if he was back there again". He said that most of his rounds are carried out in the dark and he is watching to see if there is anyone in the shadows waiting to come at him.

He told gardai he had taken Burnett on as a 14-year-old when he was getting into trouble to keep him occupied and earn a little "honest money." Burnett stayed with him for a year and the man said he had done everything he could for him but Burnett "just could not get right".

Garda Colm Gleeson told Mr O'Briain that Burnett and his girlfriend, Gemma Dixon, were at a party at The Gallops, Leopardstown when he took her car without permission. Gardai saw the car driving the wrong way down a one way street in Sandyford and pursued it. Burnett performed a handbrake turn in icy conditions and swung into contact with the garda patrol van damaging the bumper and light. He fled the scene on foot but was later arrested.

Gda Gleeson agreed with Pieter Le Vert, defending, that Burnett and Ms Dixon are still together. He said Burnett's family were horrified at his involvement in the robbery and Burnett wished to express his "sincere sorrow" for the offence.

Mr Le Vert said Burnett had been using his time in custody productively and was clean of drugs. He had raised €1,250 for charity while on remand.