Man jailed for early morning spree of knifepoint robberies

The accused carried out two robberies, three attempted robberies, and a hijacking of a bicycle in a 45-minute period
Man jailed for early morning spree of knifepoint robberies

Declan Brennan

A man who was on drugs when he went on an early morning spree of knifepoint hold-ups has been jailed for seven and a half years.

Karl McDermott (26) hijacked a push-bike from a 14-year-old schoolboy shortly after he had been tackled by a shop manager during a knifepoint robbery of the nearby Mace shop in Finglas, north Dublin.

The boy was cycling to school when McDermott stopped him and told him “get off the bike and give it to me” whilst holding a kitchen knife.

Minutes later, McDermott then tried to rob a 15-year-old girl who was walking to school. The teenager was wearing headphones and could not hear McDermott but saw his mouth was moving and that he was holding a large knife.

She became terrified as she thought he was going to rob or injure her and she ran around him and away. She ran to her nearby school and when she realised she was safe she began to cry, Garda Ciaran Molony told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Gda Molony told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, that in a 45-minute period up to 8.15am on May 4th, 2022 McDermott carried out two robberies, three attempted robberies, and one hijacking of a bicycle, all in the Finglas area. He was armed with what one witness described as a butcher’s knife.

McDermott of The Beech, Clonshaugh, Dublin pleaded guilty to these offences in court on Tuesday.

After the attempted robbery of the teenage girl, McDermott went over to a woman on her way to work in a bank and told her “give me your phone I have a knife and I'll stab you”. The woman was terrified and ran off.

She saw gardaí nearby and told them what had happened. In the meantime, McDermott had entered a local launderette and told staff “give me the money or I will kill you”.

Rampage

The court heard that the victims described McDermott as being drunk or on something and all victims declined to prepare victim impact statements. The court heard that before taking the boy's bicycle, McDermott had carried out the knifepoint hold-ups and made off on a distinctive looking pink or purple child's bicycle.

Mark Lynam BL, defending, said that his client was under the influence on tablets and alcohol when he went on this rampage. Counsel said McDermott's behaviour was wild and irrational and not necessarily aimed at getting money.

Gda Molony agreed that when sober, McDermott was co-operative and straightforward to deal with. Mr Lynam asked the court to allow his client to get on to residential drug treatment so that he could be released to look after his child.

Judge Nolan said McDermott was out of control at the time of his offending and had no regard for his victims. He said he created very frightening situations for people, including children.

He noted his record of previous offending and said McDermott is a menace to society when he takes drink or drugs or both. He accepted that he is remorseful when he is sober and has already spent a lot of time in prison.

However, he said McDermott behaved in a very violent way and was threatening and menacing. He imposed a sentence of five and a half years for the offending in May 2022.

This sentence is to run consecutive to a three-year prison term he imposed for a knifepoint attempted robbery carried out at the Circle K on the Clonshaugh Road, Clonshaugh on December 3rd, 2021. McDermott had been remanded on bail for this offence before committing the May 2022 offences.

Judge Nolan suspended the final year of the eight and half year prison term on condition that McDermott keep the peace and engage with the Probation Service for one year.

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