The incident happened at Pallasgreen Post Office
TWO young men have received lengthy prison sentences for their role in an attempted robbery at a rural post office in Limerick.
Nigel Coleman, aged 21, who has an address at Vale Drive, Oola and Dean Phillips, aged 22, of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect, previously pleaded guilty to charges relating to the incident which happened in Pallasgreen on May 26, 2016.
Limerick Circuit Court was told a pensioner who was working as a locum was threatened by Coleman who brandished a large knife and demanded that he hand over cash from the till.
Garda Chris Cowan said Dean Phillips and another man waited in a Seat Inca van which was parked in the car park of the nearby Centra store.
Coleman, who was in the post office for less than a minute, left empty handed after the 66-year-old locum told him “to go away in strong terms” before retreating to a back room and pressing the panic button.
Judge Tom O’Donnell was told while the local garda was on duty when the incident happened she was not at the garda station in the village.
Garda Cowan told Lily Buckley BL, instructed by State Solicitor Aidan Judge, the pensioner was in fear “for some time afterwards” but has made a good recovery since.
The culprits were identified on CCTV and can been seen on the footage scoping the area several times prior to the incident. An off-duty garda had also noted the registration of the Seat van as it had “spiked an interest”.
Imposing sentence this Wednesday he said the matter was very serious given that a weapon was produced and threats were made.
He said the defendants’ guilty pleas and cooperation were mitigating factors and he accepted the offences was “more opportunistic than premeditated.”
The judge also accepted that Coleman and Philips come from difficult backgrounds and have issues relating to drug use.
He sentenced each of them to five and-a-half years’ imprisonment suspending the final 18 months.
A bench warrant was issued for the arrest of a third man who had also admitted his role in the offence.
While the 27-year-old attended court on Wednesday morning, he was not present when the case was called at lunchtime.