Wannabe robber apologised and fled store empty-handed

A wannabe robber told a frightened shop owner “sorry” during the course of an attempted robbery before fleeing from the shop empty- handed.

At Ennis Circuit Court yesterday, Dermot McGuane escaped a jail term for the attempted robbery at Carmel’s Health Store on Ennis’s Francis St on March 18, 2015, when Judge Gerald Keys imposed a two-year suspended jail term on the man.

The court heard how a nervy McGuane, aged 32, of Dromard, Lahinch Rd, Ennis, Co Clare, walked around the streets of Ennis a number of times and drank alcohol to build up Dutch courage to carry out a daylight robbery of Carmel’s Health Store.

In court yesterday, Detective Garda Stephen Hession said that when McGuane eventually entered Carmel’s Health Store at 4.05pm on March 18, 2015, brandishing a broken bottle, he threatened Carmel Downes behind the counter.

Det Hession said that McGuane — who had no prior history of criminal behaviour — then demanded from Ms Downes the contents from her cash till.

Det Hession described Ms Downes as “a tough character” and the quick-thinking shop owner told a made- up story to the amateur would-be robber that he was caught on CCTV.

On hearing Ms Downes’s statement, McGuane said “sorry’ and turned on his heels and fled from the shop empty-handed.

Det Hession said Ms Downes told gardaí that she had the broken glass bottle pointed at her face and felt frightened by the incident.

McGuane was wearing a grey hoodie for the attempted robbery but he did nothing to hid his face during the badly planned and poorly executed crime.

Det Hession said that Garda street CCTV quickly identified McGuane, helped by the very good description Ms Downes gave of the offender. He said that Mr McGuane was quickly arrested and faced with the volume of evidence against him admitted his guilt to the attempted robbery offence.

Yvonne Quinn, defending, said her client was a gambling addict and that any money he had he spent it on gambling.

She said that, unusually in this case, Mr McGuane walked around the streets of Ennis and took some alcohol to build up some Dutch courage before embarking on the attempted robbery.

Det Hession agreed that, in an interview with gardaí, McGuane was very contrite and apologetic.

In sentencing McGuane to a two-year suspended jail term, Judge Gerald Keys said: “This was a man at the end of his tether because of problems he had but that doesn’t justify to the court what he did.”

Judge Keys said McGuane deciding not to carry out the robbery after the words uttered by Ms Downes and the apology to her at the shop “doesn’t paint a picture of a criminal in the pure sense of the word”.


Frits Potgieter is General Manager with Muckross Park Hotel and Spa.You've Been Served: Frits Potgieter, Muckross Park Hotel and Spa

More From The Irish Examiner