A robbery at a shop in Newmarket saw a young man elbow a 77-year-old shopkeeper out of his way in order to carry out his crime.
Judge Brian O’Callaghan sentenced the accused to three years in prison with the last year suspended at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. The conditions under which portion of the sentence were suspended included staying away from the shop in question in perpetuity.
John Donoghue, 23, of 18 Park View, Templemore, County Tipperary, pleaded guilty to what the judge described as a very serious and brazen offence. He stole €66 worth of cigarettes and tobacco and €40 in cash.
Judge O’Callaghan said, “This lady does not wish to engage with the process (in terms of preparing a victim impact statement). A 77-year-old retired lady running a shop, it is her hobby, it is her way of meeting people. The last thing she wants is to meet people like you.
“Thankfully she did not fall or suffer any serious injury. Having carried out your activities you ran out of the shop.
“It is no compliment to you that you were undisguised, that you did this openly. It just goes to show how brazen you are with people minding their own business and running a little business.
“The cash and cigarettes may not be much to you but it may well be to someone like Ms Cahill who is now left to worry if another young man is going to behave like you in her shop in the future.
“You planned what you were going to do before you went in. The harm to that lady is serious and grievous."
Detective Sergeant Sean Buckley said, “On October 14, 2017 at Cahill’s shop in Newmarket at 1.45pm in the day, the injured party, Catherine Cahill (77) was sitting behind the counter. He asked for Amberley tobacco and he took out his wallet. Ms Cahill noticed that he had no money in it and she became a bit suspicious.
“He then asked for 60 Benson cigarettes. He came behind the counter on the pretext of enquiring about a curry sauce.”
At this stage he paid 40 cents for some sweets and enquired about Panadol and tried to draw the shopkeeper out from behind the counter to show him where the tablets were.
“She held her position. He returned behind the counter and grabbed the cigarettes and tobacco. He opened the drawer but there was no cash in it. She made efforts to stop him. He drove his elbow back to fend her off, knocking her back. She was not injured. She was a bit sore.
The 77-year-old did not wish to make a victim impact statement but she said to the detective, “I did not care what he took once he did not harm me or my sister.”
The detective added, “She is the owner of the shop. She runs it more for interest than for financial gain.”
Emmet Boyle, defence barrister, said, “He is disgusted by his actions. The incredible part of it is that he used the proceeds of crime to buy food. He was at a low ebb due to addiction. Heroin caught up with him very quickly from 2016.”