Chronic drug user given jail term for robbing two Limerick stores

David Hurley


David Hurley

Limerick Circuit Court

Limerick Circuit Court

A CHRONIC drug user has been jailed for his role in two robberies at stores in Limerick city on consecutive days last year.

Michael Gammell, aged 31, whose most recent address is at Clare Road, Ennis pleaded guilty to charges relating to an incidents at Topaz, Dooradoyle on September 28, 2016 and at Centra, Upper William Street the following day.

During a sentencing hearing, Garda Dean Landers said on each occasion, Gammell approached the counter on the pretence of buying something.

He said he tried to grab cash from the tills when they were opened and that during the incident at Topaz an 18-year-old employee was warned he would be killed if he reported the crime to gardai.

The defendant escaped with around €150 in cash from Topaz while he did not get any cash from the Centra store.

Garda Landers agreed with Brian McInerney BL, defending, that the accused man presented himself at the public office of Henry Street garda station around two hours after the incident at Centra saying he was out of control and needed to be taken off the streets.

Mr McInerney told the court his client, who had attended at University Hospital Limerick a short time earlier, told gardai he had a “bad few days” and needed to go into jail.

John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, said while nobody was physically injured both incidents were “terribly unpleasant” for the workers.

Judge Tom O’Donnell was told both of the offences were captured on CCTV and that the defendant made full admissions following his arrest.

He has a number of previous convictions and is currently the subject of a suspended prison sentence.

Imposing sentence, Judge O'Donnell said the threat of violence was an aggravating factor as was his previous record.

”He has a bad record, he is clearly a recidivist,” he said commenting that Gammell’s drug addiction is “clearly at the bottom of his difficulties”.

He noted the defendant’s admissions and said his early guilty plea was a mitigating factor in the case.

The judge said the offences had be treated seriously and that a custodial sentence was warranted in the circumstances.

He imposed concurrent three and-a-half year sentences – backdating them to the date of Gammell’s arrest.