Man who brandished knives while robbing Centra jailed for four years

A Dublin man who brandished two knives while robbing a Centra of almost €1,000 has been given a four-year prison sentence
Man who brandished knives while robbing Centra jailed for four years

Claire Henry

A Dublin man who brandished two knives while robbing a Centra of almost €1,000 has been given a four-year prison sentence.

Sean Powell (31) of Russell Court, Little Britain Street, Dublin pleaded guilty to robbery at Centra, North King Street, on February 2nd, 2022.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Powell entered the shop in Dublin city centre at 2am, went to the counter, and asked for a packet of cigarettes.

When the night employee showed the cigarettes to the man, he grabbed them, produced two kitchen knives and demanded cash.

He has 24 previous convictions, which include convictions for robbery, attempted robbery, possession of an article and dangerous driving.

Passing sentence on Thursday, Judge Pauline Codd said there were many aggravating factors in the case, such as the brandishing of the knives, the threats to stab the night employee, the accused's previous convictions for robbery and the fact that was on bail at the time of the offending.

Mitigating factors

Judge Codd said the accused needs to address his lifestyle and that this is a serious offence. She said his guilty plea, his family support and his background were mitigating factors in the case.

Judge Codd sentenced Powell to five and a half years in prison but suspended the final 18 months on the condition that Powell remain under the supervision of the Probation Services for 18 months post-release and that he follows all directions.

He must also keep the peace and be of good behaviour for 18 months. The sentence was backdated to February 4th, 2022, when Powell went into custody for this offence.

Detective Garda David Reilly told Aideen Collard BL, prosecuting, that a night employee was forced to hand over €950 cash after being threatened by the accused. CCTV footage from the shop was obtained, but the accused had his face covered.

Garda Reilly said other CCTV footage from neighbouring businesses was obtained, and Powell was identified. At the time of the offence, Powell was living less than half a kilometre from the shop. CCTV footage from his apartment block lobby was also obtained, and the accused was seen wearing clothes matching that of the man who robbed the Centra.

A search warrant was issued, and Powell’s home was searched. Footwear identical to that seen on the CCTV was seized, as was €600 in cash. Powell was arrested, detained and interviewed.

DNA sample

A DNA sample was also taken, and Forensic Ireland matched his DNA to that on the knives. Both knives had been recovered by gardaí after the accused left them in the shop.

The court heard that the knife blades measured between six and seven inches in length.

A victim impact statement was read out to the court from the night employee, which said that the accused said: “You’re the only one left, I will stab you if you don’t give me the money.”

The statement went on to say that the employee could no longer work nights and requested to work days instead and that after the incident, he “never wanted to be in the shop alone".  Garda Reilly agreed with Karl Monahan BL, defending, that the guilty plea was of help to the gardaí.

Mr Monahan said his client had begun drinking and using drugs at a young age and was using ecstasy by the age of 15 and cocaine at 16. He also outlined that the death of Powell’s father and two close friends significantly impacted him, and he suffered from mental health difficulties.

Counsel said at the time of the offence, his client had begun to drink socially at weekends which spiralled out of control, and he began to use drugs again. He said his client is remorseful, shameful and fully accepts responsibility for his actions.

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