A drug addict who took part in a violent raid on a post office which left staff and customers terrified has today been sentenced to eight years for robbery and possession of firearms.
The court heard there were a number of people in the post office in Aylesbury Shopping Centre, Tallaght, when the raiders burst in carrying a knife and what was described as a 12-inch double-barrel shotgun.
They ordered staff to fill a bag with the takings from the till and threatened to shoot people if their demands were not met. Between €10,000 and €11,000 was taken in the raid before the gang fled in a waiting Nissan jeep. The vehicle was later discovered abandoned.
Derek Evans (aged 26) of Russell Place, Swiftbrook, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery and possession of a firearm at the post office on September 1, 2009.
Garda David Jennings told Mr Noel Devitt BL, prosecuting, that Evans was nominated as a suspect through his fingerprints and CCTV footage of the raid and was arrested the day after the robbery.
He told gardaí that an imitation firearm had been used but Gda Jennings clarified that gardaí were never able to determine this as the weapon was never recovered.
Evans admitted to gardaí that he had acted as the getaway driver. He said he had been wearing a scarf around his face and rubber gloves at the time.
He told gardaí he had given the money to “someone on a motorbike” because he had a debt. He claimed to have thrown the gun into a field. He said he had bought the jeep for €200 and denied stealing it.
Gda Jennings told Mr Devitt that six victim impact statements from frightened staff and customers had been prepared for the benefit of Judge Patricia Ryan.
He said Evans has 152 previous convictions which include drugs, theft, larceny, assault, public order, handling stolen property, firearms and 100 road traffic convictions.
Gda Jennings agreed with Mr Giollaíosa O’Lideadha SC, defending, that Evans had a very serious heroin habit at the time which led to his criminal behaviour.
He accepted that neither the fingerprint analysis or CCTV footage that had led to Evans being nominated as a suspect were of a significant level to be used as evidence in a trial and therefore his plea was valuable to the prosecution.
Gda Jennings further accepted that Evans seems much healthier now than he did at the time of his arrest and agreed that his family claim he has come clean of all drugs since his remand in custody.
He agreed that Evans had not been the “main man” in the enterprise and got involved because he was in debt.
Mr O’Lideadha told Judge Ryan that his client had “a very tragic past” which included the loss of both his father and brother. He said his brother’s death from a brain tumour in 2003 was the trigger for Evans’s spiral into both drug addition and criminality.
Judge Ryan suspended the final four years of the sentence after she accepted that Evans had not been the “main planner” of the raid.