Man jailed for robbery role

A man with 19 previous convictions has been jailed for his role in a £50,000 robbery in Dublin.

A man with 19 previous convictions has been jailed for his role in a £50,000 robbery in Dublin.

Jeffrey Mitchell has been jailed for six years by Judge Elizabeth Dunne for his role in the robbery of over £50,000 from a shop owner before Christmas.

Two others, Paul Atkinson and Daniel Rogers, were sentenced to three years and the store manager, Ciara Nolan, was jailed for 12 months for their parts in the crime.

Daniel McKeagney, who owned the Perfume Shop in the Square shopping centre, was robbed of £52,109 punt as he sat in his car at traffic lights on the Tallaght by-pass.

He was transporting the money to his other shop in Stephens Green when the incident occurred.

Mitchell ran up beside the car and smashed the passenger seat window with a hammer and snatched the bag.

He ran back to a waiting car but was stopped by armed gardai who had been conducting a surveillance operation all morning.

Atkinson, who was waiting in a stolen Mazda 626, took off at high speed but was apprehended a short time later.

Gardai had earlier observed Mitchell and Atkinson sitting in a different car with Rogers, who was operating a garda scanner.

Nolan was arrested later that afternoon after gardai learned she had facilitated the robbers by informing them of the movements of her boss, Mr McKeagney, with the money that morning.

Mitchell, aged 29, from Monasterboice Road, Crumlin, Atkinson (24), of Maelruans Park, Tallaght, Rogers, aged 23, of Millbrook Lawns, Tallaght and Nolan, aged 23, of Glenview Park, Tallaght, all pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery on December 8, 2001.

Mitchell committed the offence while on a two-year bond to keep the peace having been released early from an eight year sentence for armed robbery in April 2000.

Judge Joseph Matthews imposed the sentence in June 1998 but suspended it after almost two years.

Mitchell, who has 19 previous convictions, absconded from Dublin Circuit Criminal Court two weeks ago after learning that the outstanding sentence could be re-imposed by Judge Matthews because of this new robbery.

He was arrested in Drogheda after four days on the run.

Judge Dunne described the offence as very serious but she recognised that the involvement and the circumstances of each accused were different.

"This offence was a well-planned, well-organised and well-executed but thankfully the gardai were well-informed and on the spot to foil the robbery," she said.

"Because of the amount of the money in question the benefits for those involved were considerable and that's an important factor for me to bear in mind. However, it's clear that the role of each accused was different.

"In the case of Mr Mitchell, because of his number of previous convictions, a sentence of eight to ten years, would be appropriate were it not for the cooperation he gave to gardai.

"The circumstances of Mr Rogers and Mr Atkinson are very similar and therefore I propose to deal with them in the same way.

"As for Ms Nolan, her role was somewhat different and the evidence was that she was naive and easily led. However, I feel I must also impose a custodial sentence because she provided the information to the gang and this was a major breach of trust," she concluded.

Detective Garda John Keane told Mr Dominic McGinn BL, prosecuting, that Mr McKeagney only told Ms Nolan when he would collect the money a day or two in advance for security reasons.

He usually made pick-ups once a week but coming up to Christmas he often made two or three. He rang to tell her he would be collecting the money two days prior.

He didn't specify a time but Ms Nolan knew it would be in the morning because she finished work at lunch-time.

He arrived at noon and took the money from the safe before leaving for town. Ms Nolan rang Atkinson after he left and was observed doing this by one of the security guards.

Gardai had earlier observed a Nissan Micra with the three male accused in it outside the Square shopping centre. A garda scanner was later found inside the car.

After Ms Nolan was arrested she said she had known Rogers and Atkinson for years but that she had only met Mitchell the day before.

He knew all about the financial movements of the store from his acquaintance with Atkinson.

Nolan said she became trapped and got in way over her head. She felt too scared to pull back from the offence.

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