A man who previously won best dog handler at Crufts is facing prison for three knife-point muggings carried out to feed a drug addiction.
Micheal Geoghegan (aged 36) also threatened to stab a garda who chased him down after the robberies in Swords, north Dublin.
He has pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery and production of a knife at Rathbeale Road, Swords on August 18, 2018. Geoghegan of Ormond View, Swords Manor, Swords, also admitted producing a large kitchen knife to intimidate and producing an iron drill bit and knife while resisting arrest.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told that Detective Sergeant Alan Flaherty eventually disarmed him using his baton.
The court heard the offences come with a potential maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
After hearing evidence, Judge Patricia Ryan adjourned the case to July 23 next for sentence.
Annette Kealy BL, defending, told the court that her client began using drugs in his early teens and was addicted to heroin at 16. He is attempting to deal with his drug problems but has relapsed a number of times, she said.
She said he had stayed off drugs since these robberies. She also told the court that Geoghegan had some talent with animals and in his youth, he won an award at Crufts for best dog handler.
The court heard that after his arrest gardaí believed he was medically unfit to be interviewed. He later told investigators that he could not remember anything about the offending but admitted it was him on the CCTV footage from the area.
Detective Garda Warren O'Sullivan told the court that Geoghegan carried out the robberies on three random women at around 9am in the morning.
The first victim who worked as a care assistant was walking to a house for a care visit when Geoghegan came up behind her and put his arm around her neck.
He told her “give me your money, I want paper not coins”. She saw the blade of a knife in his hand and gave him some cash, the court heard.
The second victim was arriving for work in a nearby supermarket when Geoghegan came up to her and threatened her with the knife and demanded money. A co-worker saw the robbery and began shouting at Geoghegan.
The victim ran off but Geoghegan chased her. He shouted “where are you going” at her and threatened to throw the knife at her.
She ran to a Dunnes Stores outlet but the shutters were still down and Geoghegan caught up with her and grabbed her arm. He demanded money and she gave him €60.
The third woman was arriving for work in a barbershop and had just parked her car nearby when Geoghegan came up to her.
He raised the knife to her and said: “give me your money or I will stab you”. She took out €80 from her handbag and gave it to him before he ran off.
The court heard that Detective Sergeant Flaherty arrived at the scene and saw Geoghegan running off and chased after him. He found Geoghegan crouching down beside a parked car and noticed he had a knife and a drill bit.
He told Geoghegan to drop the weapons but Geoghegan instead got up and lunged at the garda. He then began walking off.
Dt. Sgt Flaherty told him repeatedly to stop but Geoghegan repeatedly asked the garda to “go away”, Katherine McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, told the court.
Geoghegan later added “I'm going to stab you”, the court heard, and lunged at the garda again. He also made two attempts to throw the drill bit at the officer before the garda deployed his baton and disarmed him.
Geoghegan has one previous conviction for robbery with an imitation firearm. This was committed in 2005. He also has previous convictions for drug offences.
Det. Gda O'Sullivan told Ms Kealy that he accepted that her client was genuinely sorry for these offences.
Ms Kealy said he has brought €2,500 to court to offer as a token of his remorse and she handed into court a “compelling letter” from his mother.