Limerick drug addict commits three armed robberies in three days

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Paul Hinchey pleaded guilty to robbery charges relating to offences which occurred over the course of a week last December

Paul Hinchey pleaded guilty to robbery charges relating to offences which occurred over the course of a week last December

A CHRONIC drug addict who carried out armed robberies at three retail premises in Limerick city told gardai he would have started robbing rural post offices if he was not caught.

Paul Hinchey, aged 29, of Pennywell Road, Garryowen has pleaded guilty to robbery charges relating to offences which occurred over the course of a week last December.

Hinchey was armed with a large knife and threatened staff at each of the premises. He escaped with around €3,000 in total.

Detective Garda Fergal Hanrahan told Limerick Circuit Court the robberies happened at Garryowen Stores on December 23, 2016; Fine Wines, Castletroy on December 27, 2016 and Maxol, Dublin Road on December 31, 2016.

On each occasion the defendant wore dark clothing and had his face covered.

The detective told John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting the defendant was identified as a suspect from CCTV footage at the three premises and that he made “full and frank admissions” following his arrest. A balaclava used in two of the robberies was also recovered during a search of his home.

“He said he would have started doing post offices next and that he would go out to the middle of nowhere,” Detective Garda Hanrahan told the court.

Brian McInerney BL, defending, said his client’s admissions were critically important as there was no forensic evidence and because the victims had given varying descriptions of the culprit to gardai.

He said his client was a “very bad heroin addict” around the time and had committed the offences to get money to repay a drug debt he owed.

“The money was not used to buy flashy clothes or go on fancy holidays,” he said.

The barrister said Mr Hinchey began smoking cannabis at a young age and that his life had spiralled downwards when he lost his job.

He said he first began taking heroin in prison but that he is now engaging with various services in an effort to deal with his addiction.

Hinchey, who has also pleaded guilty to separate attempted robbery and burglary offences, will be sentenced on December 21.