Man armed with syringe told off licence staff he had hepatitis

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

A MOYROSS man who threatened staff at a city off licence with a syringe - claiming he had hepatitis - has been sentenced to a total of three years in prison.

A MOYROSS man who threatened staff at a city off licence with a syringe - claiming he had hepatitis - has been sentenced to a total of three years in prison.

John Hayes, 37, of Hartigan Villas, Moyross pleaded guilty, at Limerick Circuit Court, to robbing the Fine Wines store at Corbally Road on December 21, 2010.

During a sentencing hearing, Det Garda Donal Moynihan, Mayorstone, said Hayes had entered the premises at around 7.30pm.

He threatened two young men who were working there at the time before taking €150 in cash.

“The young men were in a somewhat of a vulnerable position and it was a traumatic experience,” said John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, who added that both men had recovered from their ordeal.

Detective Garda Moynihan told the court he had encountered Hayes earlier on the day and he said CCTV footage from the off licence showed he was wearing the same clothes.

During the same court hearing, Hayes, who has 89 previous convictions, also pleaded guilty to robbing the Ladbrokes store at Johnsgate Village on December 4, 2010.

The court was told he was one of three men who entered the premises at around 5pm.

Members of staff were forced to retreat to the toilets and the culprits smashed a glass door with a hammer before taking €750 in cash from the tills.

Although all three raiders had their faces covered, Det Garda Moynihan said the defendant’s movements before and after the robbery were caught on a number of CCTV cameras in the city centre.

Brian McInerney BL, representing Hayes, said his client - a father of four - was a heroin addict and he said the offences were linked to his addiction.

He said he had made admissions following his arrest and that these were “particularly beneficial” to the prosecution as it was “not the most straightforward of cases”.

Judge Carroll Moran was told Hayes has “hit rock bottom” and that he is anxious to get off drugs when released from prison as his long-term partner has “drawn a line in the sand” and has threatened to leave him.

“It is a significant motivation for him,” said Mr McInerney who told the court that his client was placed in foster care at a young age and that he was “not properly cared for”.

Imposing sentence, Judge Moran described Hayes as a “serial offender” and a “full time criminal”.

He said his guilty pleas were a mitigating factor as the evidence in the case was “not the strongest”.

However, the judge said an aggravating factor was that there were two separate offences.

He imposed a four year sentence in relation to each of the robberies, suspending the final year.

The sentences were backdated to December, 2010.