A heroin addict who ran into a tree while trying to escape after robbing a heavily pregnant woman has been given a five-year sentence.
Defence counsel for Ian Gibbons said he was “deeply ashamed” at the depth he had fallen to during a relapse into drug addiction following a seven-year period clean of heroin.
Gibbons, aged 40, of Kilmainham Bank, Emmet Rd, Inchicore, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of a purse and mobile phone at Blackpitts, Dublin 8, on July 2, 2015.
The court heard he snatched a bag from the woman, causing her to fall over. She did not suffer any injuries. Gibbons, who has 25 previous convictions, was chased and restrained by members of the public who witnessed the robbery. The woman was taken to hospital but was not injured.
Judge Melanie Greally praised the “courageous and responsible members of the community” who detained Gibbons at the scene. She said it was an atrocious offence committed on a young expectant mother.
She noted that, since the offence, Gibbons has again attempted to combat his heroin addiction. Judge Greally imposed a five-year sentence with the final 18 months suspended on conditions.
Garda Geoffrey White told Elva Duffy, prosecuting, that the woman, who was 35-and- a-half weeks pregnant, had been walking from her home to see a friend. She had a bag over her shoulder and was speaking to her husband on the phone. She said someone grabbed her phone and bag, which knocked her off balance and she fell to the ground. The robber ran off and she screamed for help.
Three members of the public saw what happened and chased the man. They lost sight of him for a time but a fourth person spotted him again and the group confronted him.
Gibbons told the men: “I didn’t know she was pregnant.” He agreed to show them where the stolen bag was and all items were ultimately recovered.
The group restrained Gibbons until gardaí arrived. During this time he tried unsuccessfully to escape several times, on one occasion running into a tree.
Pieter Le Vert, defending, said Gibbons had women in his own life and he was ashamed he had fallen so low as to rob a pregnant woman. Gibbons had now taken “concrete steps” to rehabilitate while in custody.
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