A drug addict who committed a string of violent post office robberies in which put knives to customer’s throats and made off with thousands of euro has been jailed for 13 years by Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Judge Michael White heard that Jason Campbell stabbed an off duty garda who confronted him during a robbery of a Post Office in Tallaght and in a separate incident held a knife to a female pensioner’s throat.
Campbell (aged 26), of Donomore Crescent, Tallaght pleaded guilty at to seven armed robberies of banks, post offices and a credit union in on dates between October 2004 and March 2006.
Detective Garda James Donegan, now retired, was awarded the Scott Medal for his bravery in trying to thwart the knife-wielding Campbell at Glenview Post Office, in Glenview Park, Tallaght on April 11, 2005.
Campbell had entered the post office, held a knife to a customer’s neck and demanded money. The cashier gave him €5,030 before he tried to get away.
Det. Gda Donegan was off duty and in a neighbouring pharmacy when he heard the commotion. He took a chair from the pharmacy and rushed to the post office shouting "gardaí!".
Campbell ran at him holding the knife at chest height and pushed the chair away. He stabbed Det. Gda Donegan in the side and got out of the post office but was chased by the detective and another off duty garda who had been in the post office at the time of the robbery.
With the aid of two passers they caught Campbell and held him on the ground as he struggled violently until garda reinforcements arrived.
Judge White heard that Campbell had 12 previous convictions for road traffic and robbery offences and had previously received a five year term for robbery.
In November 2004 Campbell raided a Permanent TSB in Stillorgan and held a knife to the neck of a 75-year-old lady. As he was demanding money from the cashier the woman broke free and cut her hand on the knife severing several tendons.
She also fell and broke her wrist as she ran to the door as Campbell was escaping through it with over €8,000. Judge White heard she had never regained full use of her hand.
During a raid of an AIB Bank in Celbridge in November 2004 Campbell used a replica Colt revolver when he and two other men escaped with €5,500. All three wore high visibility jackets with scarves covering their faces. The other men were armed with a hammer and a screwdriver.
Campbell used the same method in all of the robberies in that he would grab a customer and hold them to ransom until an employee of the raided premises handed over cash. Judge White described him as a "very violent young man" and refused leave to appeal the severity of sentence.