A shop assistant was terrified by a lone raider who pulled out a knife and forced her to hand over the contents of the cash register.
The incident occurred on January 5 at the Spar shop in Ballydaheen, Mallow, Co Cork. At Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, the raider was jailed for three years.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a four-year sentence with the final year suspended on Zach Maloney, who is from the northside of Cork City but was living at Lower Bearforest, Mallow, when the crime was committed.
“His previous history is appalling — 16 previous for robbery alone and in many of those, weapons were used, often weapons more dangerous than knives,” said Judge Ó Donnabháin.
“He is hopelessly addicted to heroin. He is going to keep on offending unless something is done.”
Garda Denis Howard said the robbery was carried out at 6.30pm on January 5.
The woman working in the Spar shop observed a man entering wearing a hoodie with the hood over his head and a scarf across his face.
“He pointed a knife at the cashier and he demanded she open the till. She started taking notes from the till. He told her to help him. She did so in fear. He also told her not to press the panic alarm,” said Garda Howard.
The raider was seen running away in the direction of Mallow Bridge.
Maloney was seen coming from a wastewater area a short distance from the shop following the robbery. This area was later searched and his hoodie was recovered. He was also identified by certain tattoos on his hands.
When gardaí called to arrest Maloney at his home in Bearforest, they found the knife that he used in the course of the robbery.
Maloney co-operated with the Garda investigation and admitted he left his house with the intention of robbing the shop, telling gardaí he needed money to buy heroin.
John Devlin, defending, said Maloney had relapsed on heroin after getting into a row at his local chemist a couple of weeks before the robbery. The row meant Maloney was unable to get his methadone from the chemist as part of his treatment.
Mr Devlin said Maloney went back on heroin as it had not proved possible for the defendant to have his methadone prescription transferred to another chemist over the Christmas period.
Garda Howard said the Spar shop assistant did not want to make a victim impact statement. “She did not want to relive the incident as it was too traumatic,” said Garda Howard.
Mr Devlin said Maloney wrote a letter of apology to the victim.
Maloney had 89 previous convictions, including 16 for robbery and three more for attempted robbery.
Judge Ó Donnabháin noted that none of the €505 cash stolen from the shop was recovered. The judge said the chemists referred to by the defence would not deal with the defendant because “he robbed the chemist shop before Christmas”.
Maloney pleaded guilty to robbing €505 cash from the Spar and a related charge of producing a knife while committing a robbery.