A man was scared into carrying out the robbery of a pharmacy by the threat of a photograph of a bullet and another picture of his partner’s front door.
Defence barrister, Paula McCarthy, said this threat prompted Anthony O’Sullivan, who has 495 previous convictions, to carry out the robbery.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said one often hears of robberies taking a short number of minutes but their effect on people can be terrible.
“For one woman behind the counter it felt like an eternity. She won’t go back to work in the premises. She won’t work late shifts.
"The other lady feels very unsafe now and other events trigger panic,” the judge said.
The judge imposed a three-year sentence on the accused for the robbery and a six-month sentence for escaping from a garda station afterwards which will be suspended on completion of the three-year term.
Ms McCarthy BL said the accused wrote a letter of apology to the victims and there was no question of them having to come to court to testify. She said O’Sullivan started taking drugs at the age of 13, became addicted at 15, and is now 34.
Anthony O’Sullivan of 17 Araglen Court, Mayfield, Cork, signed pleas of guilty to charges of robbery and escape.
Detective Garda Tom Delaney said O’Sullivan robbed 2,000 tablets, including Halcion, Gerax, Xanax, Viagra and Alprazolam at the Allcare Pharmacy, Douglas Road, Cork, on Sunday March 7.
Det. Garda Delaney said that following his arrest he was taken to Togher garda station. When he was allowed to use the toilet he climbed out the window and fled.
He was found at a house in Cork city within 40 minutes but he fled out the back of that house as soon as gardaí arrived. He was arrested a short time later hiding in a shed in the area.
When it was put to him initially about escaping custody and running away, he said, “That is true. I was withdrawing from drugs at time.”
For the robbery he said, “I am really sorry. I did not want to do it. I am in a Catch 22. I owe money. They told me to clear it by getting the tablets. I was sent pictures of a bullet and of my girlfriend’s house. I am sorry.”
Det. Garda Delaney said the accused called to the pharmacy just before 10 pm that Sunday night just as the premises was about to close.
He had his face masked and first enquired about birth control. He then demanded the various tablets including Xanax and Halcion.
Among his 495 previous convictions, he had two for robbery, one for attempted robbery, one for escape, and four for burglary.