Wicklow man who robbed building society the day before Christmas Eve is jailed for five years
A man has been sentenced to five years in prison for the robbery of a building society in Arklow two days before Christmas four years ago.
Michael Nelson (50) was found guilty by unanimous verdict of a jury following a three-day trial at Wicklow Circuit Criminal Court in March of robbing the Educational Building Society on Ferrybank in Arklow on December 23, 2019.
The unemployed father of four from Asgard Close, Arklow, Co Wicklow, was also found guilty of the theft of a woman’s purse a short time earlier on the same day in the Dunnes Stores supermarket in the Bridgewater shopping centre.
At a sentencing hearing this week, Detective Garda Donal O’Leary told the court that Nelson had abandoned the purse after the victim had immediately noticed that it had been removed from her shopping trolley.
Det Garda O’Leary said Nelson then went to the EBS office in Arklow where he demanded money from a cashier, Yvonne Moran, who was alone in the premises.
Counsel for the DPP, James Kelly BL, said Nelson had physically laid his hand on Ms Moran in what was a “very scary experience” for her.
The court heard gardaí, who had been alerted to both crimes, traced Nelson to a house in Clonard in Arklow where some €4,300 stolen from the building society was recovered in an upstairs bathroom.
Det Garda O’Leary informed Judge Patrick Quinn that Nelson had 36 previous convictions including nine for theft and eight for robbery.
The witness said many of the defendant’s crimes were linked to his drug habit.
In a victim impact statement read out in court, Ms Moran, said she experienced her “worst Christmas ever” in the aftermath of the robbery.
She said she had to send her children to stay with relatives for Christmas because of how she felt.
She explained she still had sleepless nights and hardly ever socialises.
Ms Moran said she had returned to her job but never felt the same again and “froze” every time a strange customer came into the building society.
The court heard she quit her role with the EBS two months later.
Ms Moran said she had been training to become a qualified financial advisor but that potential career had been taken from her that day.
Counsel for Nelson, Barry White SC, said he had little to offer in mitigation for his client as he refused to accept the verdict of the jury.
“I’m in an invidious position as I can’t apologise or show any remorse,” said Mr White
Sentencing Nelson to five years in prison, Judge Quinn said the effect of the robbery had destroyed Ms Moran’s life.
He also sentenced the defendant to one year in prison for the conviction for stealing the purse to run concurrently.