Man who carried out two armed robberies on Cork taxi drivers freed from prison after seven months

The judge said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that the seven months he was remanded in custody on the charges to date would be taken into consideration and that the balance would be suspended
Man who carried out two armed robberies on Cork taxi drivers freed from prison after seven months

Dublin Taxi at night

A Cork man who carried out armed robberies on two taxi drivers and attempted the same crime a third time to pay for his heroin addiction has been freed from prison after seven months.

One of his victims was 75 years old.

William Cambridge was sentenced by Judge James O’Donoghue to a total sentence of four years with the balance of the sentence to be fully suspended. 

The judge said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that the seven months he was remanded in custody on the charges to date would be taken into consideration and that the balance would be suspended.

In effect, today’s sentence is one of three years and five months suspended on condition that he would come under the care of the probation service for a period of two years and abide by their directions, including attendance at a residential treatment for drug addiction and to stay out of the Glen area and reside elsewhere.

He pleaded guilty to all three crimes which were committed within days of each other last year.

The first robbery from a taxi driver relates to €160 robbed on October 6 2021 at Spring Lane, The Glen. Cork. Garda Shire said the 56-year-old driver picked up the fare on Drawbridge Street just off St. Patrick’s Street at 10 a.m. that morning and drove as directed by the passenger to Spring Lane.

The driver said the passenger then produced what looked like the largest knife from a block of kitchen knives. The driver first handed over €40 but the passenger said he wanted more money. The driver took out his wallet and Cambridge took €120 from that before running from the scene.

The next robbery occurred less than a week later on October 12, 2021 at Glentrasna Drive, The Glen, Cork, when €80 was robbed. Garda Shire said the 55-year-old driver picked up the fare at Blackpool and again a knife was produced.

Then at 6.45 p.m. on the following day he went to Sun Cabs in Mayfield and after some time in the car Cambridge produced the large kitchen knife and brandished it towards the 75-year-old taxi-driver. The driver pressed a panic alarm and shouted for help. Cambridge left the scene without getting anything on this occasion.

ADDICTION

Defence barrister Emmet Boyle said the accused had some minor previous convictions but had never been jailed. 

However, he was offered heroin as a way of numbing the grief two years ago following the deaths of his younger brother and his father in tragic circumstances.

Mr Boyle BL said it was a cautionary tale for anyone thinking about heroin as Cambridge was deeply addicted to the drug within a year and was using €100 worth of heroin per day, for which he was struggling to pay.

“Very quickly it spiralled out of control with the loss of the society of his family, his work and his home,” Mr Boyle said.

The barrister put it to the investigating garda in relation to Cambridge, “He expresses remorse and empathy for his behaviour. You might accept that as genuine?” Garda Shire replied, “I read that in the probation report.” 

Judge O’Donoghue said, “He brandished a knife and demanded money from each taxi driver. It is a very serious offence.” 

The judge said the fright and mental distress caused by his actions were the main aggravating factors.

“This was greatly out of character with his previous offending. Specific events in his life sparked this. When tragic events occurred he started to take heroin to dull the pain – the court presumes – and was drastically in need of money to feed this habit... He seems to be disgusted by his behaviour,” Judge O’Donoghue said.

Cambridge who is formerly of Mangerton Close, The Glen, Cork, said previously that he had been waiting to get on to a drug rehabilitation programme and was due to start one.

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