Man robbed shop minutes after buying soft drink and jellies

Stephen Kearney knew the shopkeeper well and had just had a conversation with her about how he was not long out of a prison and had come to visit his mother
Man robbed shop minutes after buying soft drink and jellies
File photo. Picture: iStock

A man who returned to rob a shop where he had just bought a soft drink and a packet of sweets has been jailed for a year.

Stephen Kearney (35) knew the shopkeeper well and had just had a conversation with her about how he was not long out of a prison and had been “living down the country” but had come back to visit his mother.

Garda David Duffy said Kearney bought a can of coke and a bag of jellies before leaving the shop. He returned minutes later having changed his clothes and was wearing a snood to cover his face. He addressed the shopkeeper by name, produced a firearm and said “Open the fucking till”. He robbed €250.

Kearney of Coultry Drive, Ballymun, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the robbery of Centra Shop, Swords Road, Santry on February 12, 2019. He further pleaded guilty to an earlier robbery of a wallet and a bag at St Stephen's Green West, Dublin on July 2, 2018.

Kearney has 113 previous convictions including a manslaughter conviction from October 2004 for which he received a nine-year sentence in May 2006. He also received a six and half year sentence for multiple robberies in December 2019.

Judge Martin Nolan commented that he supposed it was “comical in the sense of a man coming back to a shop where he is known well and tries to rob it”.

He acknowledged that Kearney was before him on two robberies and is currently serving a jail term. He imposed a concurrent one-year jail term for both offences but ordered that they be served consecutive to the sentence Kearney is currently serving.

Judge Nolan previously heard that in July 2018, Kearney and another man robbed a handbag from a woman in the early hours of the morning after asking her for a cigarette. The woman fell to the ground from the struggle and Kearney was identified on CCTV footage.

Victim 'bears no ill will'

Gda Duffy told Katherine McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, that Kearney came to Ballymun Garda Station two days after robbing the Centra store to speak to his case manager. He then made admissions in relation to a number of crimes including this robbery.

He told gardaí that he left the shop, got a taxi home and then used the money to buy crack cocaine and heroin.

Gda Duffy confirmed that the victim bears no ill will towards Kearney and a victim impact statement said she has changed her routine in case she runs into Kearney but otherwise the robbery had “no ill effect on her”.

Gda Duffy agreed with Michael Hourigan BL, defending, that Kearney was genuinely remorseful and that his plea and admissions were helpful in prosecuting the case.

Mr Hourigan told Judge Nolan that his client struggled with addiction issues.

He asked the court to accept the way Kearney approached the case, allowed for his prosecution as gardaí were not able to source CCTV footage of the raid. He said his client had previously done well with drug rehabilitation but has relapsed.

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