Halloween mask-wearing robber who stole to repay drug debt receives five-year sentence

David Savage (29) handed himself into Pearse Street Garda station on February 2nd, 2020 and made full admissions in relation to two attempted robberies and one robbery, all in Dublin.
Halloween mask-wearing robber who stole to repay drug debt receives five-year sentence

Fiona Ferguson

A bike-riding robber wearing a Halloween mask and wielding a toy gun was unsuccessful in his attempts to rob two premises before later raiding a supermarket, a court has heard.

David Savage (29) later presented himself at a Garda station and told investigators he had been in a panic on the day after being pressured to repay a drug debt.

Savage, with addresses at Navan Road, Dublin 7, and Belclare Way, Poppintree, Dublin 11, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal to two attempted robberies and one robbery in Dublin city centre on December 30th, 2019. He pleaded guilty to a further robbery on January 14th, 2020.

Judge Melanie Greally noted on Monday that Savage comes from a respectable background and that he wishes to address the addiction which is at the heart of his offending. She took into account the contents of a probation report before the court as well as Savage's cooperation, admissions and remorse.

Sentence

Judge Greally imposed a five-year sentence and suspended the final year on strict conditions, including a 12-month probation supervision.

At his original sentence hearing last June, the court heard Savage attempted to rob Paddy Powers on Manor Street, Dublin 7 while armed with an imitation firearm and wearing a skeleton mask. He fled empty-handed after staff activated a panic alarm.

Garda Niall Freaney told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that 15 minutes later, Savage cycled up to An Post on Ushers Quay and was again unsuccessful in his attempt to demand money from the cashier.

He said that half an hour later, a cashier at Lidl in Rathmines was about to close his till after serving a customer when Savage came behind him and pointed what he believed was a gun into his rib cage.

Savage told the man not to close the till and grabbed notes to the value of €1,765 before running out of the shop and was observed cycling off. Gardaí reviewed CCTV footage of the incidents and identified Savage as a suspect.

Toy gun

Savage later told gardaí the weapon was a child's toy gun and he had dumped it in a roadside bin after the Lidl robbery.

Garda Dylan Walsh said a further robbery took place on January 14th, 2020 when Savage jumped the counter at a Burger King, held a knife to a staff member's rib cage while telling him: "Open the cash drawer or I am going to stab you."

The cashier backed off and let him take money. Savage told him "I am sorry, I need the money", before jumping back over the counter and running out of the shop.

Savage, who has nine previous convictions, presented himself at Pearse Street Garda station on February 2nd, 2020. He was interviewed by gardaí and made full admissions in relation to the offences. He said he was using heroin on a daily basis and was under pressure to pay a drug debt.

Garda Freaney agreed with Ronan Prendergast BL, defending, that Savage had apologised and said he was desperate for money, adding that he told gardaí he had been in a state of panic.

Mr Prendergast handed in a reference from his client's father and said Savage had the support of his family. He asked the court to take into account that Savage had handed himself in and that the purpose of the offending was pressure due to a drug debt, adding that Savage is anxious to rehabilitate.

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