Raider jailed after accomplice killed in bungled hold-up

Aoife Nic Ardghail and Nicola Donnelly

A DUBLIN drug addict has received an eight-year sentence for a botched supermarket raid in which his accomplice was stabbed to death.

Detective Sergeant Eddie Carroll revealed that Joseph Rafferty (30) "sacrificed himself" to help with the investigation into Paul Howe's death following the botched raid.

Rafferty went to gardai after the killing, admitted the robbery and pointed himself out on poor-quality CCTV footage of the incident.

"If he hadn't admitted it, I don't think we would have had enough evidence to bring [the matter] before the court," Det Sgt Carroll told Ms Caroline Biggs, defending.

Rafferty, of Russell Place, Russell Square, Tallaght, pleaded guilty on his trial date at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to a €2,862 cash robbery at Supervalu in Killester on October 8, 2008.

He has eight previous convictions here and in the UK, including an eight-year sentence from Oxford Crown Court for robbery and carjacking, three years for criminal damage with a petrol bomb and seven years for four robberies both from Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in 2000 and 1999.

Det Sgt Carroll told Mr Colm O Briain, prosecuting, that Rafferty had been working as a courier at the time of the raid and that his friend, the deceased, was under "severe pressure because of a drug debt".

The detective sergeant said Mr Howe had bought the knives, which were used in the raid and his subsequent killing, at the Supervalu minutes before he and Rafferty re-entered with scarves over their faces.

Prior to bursting in on staff, the two men were spotted pushing pallets against a nearby car-park wall by a security man.

Rafferty used this pallet pile to vault over the wall when he fled the scene.

He had held his knife against one cashier, made her open the till and then grabbed money with both hands before running out the door.

Mr Howe similarly held a knife to another cashier in a bid to get money, but the security man and a group of youths had gathered around the entrance door by the time he was making his escape.

Det Sgt Carroll revealed that Mr Howe was restrained, the knife was taken off him and one young man in the vicinity stabbed him, inflicting fatal injuries at the scene.

David Wilson (22) of Marigold Avenue, Darndale, was convicted and sentenced for Mr Howe's manslaughter at the Central Criminal Court this year.

Det Sgt Carroll told Mr O Briain that Rafferty took a trial date due to issues surrounding his arrest but pleaded guilty after this date was pushed back to accommodate the manslaughter trial.


He agreed with Ms Biggs that her client had made "frank" admissions to his role in the robbery from the outset.

The detective garda said he didn't think the raid had been well planned in advance but decided on that day.

Ms Biggs submitted to Judge Patrick McCartan that her client, a married father-of-three, had "a history of drug addiction and his close friend had a drug debt which was why the decision was made to carry out the robbery".

Judge McCartan acknowledged that Rafferty's plea showed a degree of remorse but said a knife robbery was a very serious matter. He was sentenced to eight years with four suspended.