A taxi driver was robbed of the purse around her neck after driving a man from Cork City to a dark laneway in Buttevant, North Cork.

The culprit was on High Court bail on a rape charge at the time. He was jailed last month at the Central Criminal Court for nine years for that crime, where the evidence was that he held the victim down while an accomplice raped her in a park.

Keith Aherne, aged 23, appeared before Judge David Riordan at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday for sentencing on the charge of robbing the taxi driver of her cash on September 14, 2016.

Judge Riordan imposed a two-year sentence on Aherne for the robbery charge. It is consecutive to the rape sentence because the robbery was committed while he was on bail. As of yesterday, Aherne is serving a total prison term of 11 years.

Garda Paul O’Shea outlined the background to the robbery charge and a theft from another taxi driver.

At 1am on September 14 last year, Aherne got into a female driver’s taxi at St Patrick St in Cork city and asked to be driven to Buttevant. Aherne was living at 15 O’Brien Terrace in the town at the time but is originally from Cork City.

Garda O’Shea said Aherne directed the taxi driver down a dark alley in Buttevant. He snatched the purse of cash from her neck and fled from the taxi.

Judge Riordan noted from victim evidence that the woman had reduced her hours of taxi driving and had decided to retrain for a career in healthcare because of the fear she was left with from the robbery.

A couple of days later, Aherne got a taxi from Blackrock, Cork, to Buttevant and agreed to a fare of €150 to be brought out and later back to Cork. He told the driver he had €200 in his house. The driver agreed to give him the €50 change in advance. Aherne then fled with the €50 and paid nothing to the driver.

Garda O’Shea said the driver was not overly upset except that he felt foolish at being duped, even though he was an experienced taxi driver.

Sinead Behan, defence barrister, said the defendant had been binge drinking for a few days around that time. Garda O’Shea agreed that the accused came from a difficult background and essentially supported himself.

Ms Behan categorised the crimes to which Aherne pleaded guilty yesterday as smash and grab opportunism rather than planned offences.


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