'Toilet captive' actually helped robbers, court hears

A bookmaker employee who claimed he was locked in a toilet while robbers made off with a safe but was seen on CCTV helping them carry it has being jailed for 18 months.

A bookmaker employee who claimed he was locked in a toilet while robbers made off with a safe but was seen on CCTV helping them carry it has being jailed for 18 months.

Michael Joyce (aged 43), of Harelawn Road, Clondalkin tried to hide his face when he realised he was being filmed while helping the two men carry the safe at Paddy Power Bookmakers in Ballycullen.

Joyce who was working as a contract cleaner for Paddy Power Bookmakers pleaded guilty to theft of €11,768 and Stg£245 on February 20 2007.

Garda David Conroy told prosecuting counsel, Ms Tara Burns BL, they received a call from Joyce saying he had been held against his will for two hours and had only just escaped from a locked bathroom.

He told gardaí in a four page statement that two armed men grabbed him as he was bringing out rubbish. He said there was a struggle and they forced him to the ground before locking him in the toilet.

However, when gardaí viewed the CCTV footage from the premises they saw there was no struggle and at one point Joyce had even helped them carry the safe.

Joyce was arrested and in interview admitted he knew the robbery was going to take place but insisted he was held against his will when it happened. He claimed the raiders kept asking him for help through the locked bathroom door but he refused before eventually agreeing.

He said he covered his face with his jumper when he noticed the cameras and agreed with gardaí that “it was a bit late for that.” He had been working in the bookmakers for six months previous to that.

Gda Conroy said Joyce later admitted he was to be paid for his role in the robbery but refused to name the other men involved. He said he met them outside a methadone clinic while he was trying to get off heroin.

Gda Conroy said Joyce was a heroin addict with six previous convictions, including larceny and drugs offences.

He agreed with defence counsel, Ms Fiona Murphy BL, that Joyce “wasn't the cleverest of people” and that it wasn't a very sophisticated robbery.

Judge Katherine Delahunt said Joyce had abused a position of trust he was put in by his employers but noted his early guilty plea and the fact that he was not “a major player”.

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