Man jailed for year over robbery bid with screwdriver

A RAIDER fuelled by vodka armed himself with a screwdriver to rob his local shop.

At Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, the man was jailed for one year.

Martin Kavanagh, 34, of 9 Churchfield Gardens, pleaded guilty to attempting a robbery at Centra in Gurranabraher, Cork, on September 5.

Kavanagh had four previous robbery convictions, seven for burglary and nine for theft.

Garda Gary Purtill told the court the Centra shop was about a five-minute walk from Kavanagh’s home.

The defendant went into the shop and pretended to be buying cigarette papers. When the shop assistant went to put the money into the cash register, Kavanagh lunged forward and grabbed about €800.

Initially, the shop assistant managed to push his hands away from the drawer of the till but he then produced a screwdriver, forcing her to back off. Two members of staff managed to grab Kavanagh and hold him until the gardaí arrived.

Barrister Niamh Stewart said Kavanagh had been drinking vodka all day and had gone to the shop to get more money to buy drink. She added he had been off drink for a year but went back on it a week before this robbery as a reaction to a personal tragedy.

“This was an amateurish job — he is in and out of the shop every day of the week. He is very sorry for what he did. It is a sad case,” Ms Stewart BL said.

Judge Con Murphy said: “Obviously this type of offence causes a lot of trauma to shop assistants and other people. But for the fact that the shop was very well manned and the fact that the shop assistant knew him, he would have got away. He has genuine remorse and gave full co-operation to the gardaí.”

Judge Murphy imposed concurrent one-year sentences for the attempted robbery and the brandishing of the screwdriver, and he backdated the sentences to September 6 — the date Kavanagh was remanded in custody on the charges.

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