Third man jailed over robbery at County Limerick post office

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

The incident happened at Pallasgreen Post Office on May 26, 2016. Three men have been jailed for the attempted robbery

The incident happened at Pallasgreen Post Office on May 26, 2016. Three men have been jailed for the attempted robbery

A THIRD man has been jailed for his role in an attempted robbery at a rural post office in County Limerick more than two years ago.

Jonathan Philips, aged 27, who has an address at Clonlara Village, Clonlara had pleaded guilty to robbery charges relating to the incident which happened in Pallasgreen at around 4.30pm May 26, 2016.

The defendant failed to appear before Limerick Circuit Court for a sentencing hearing in July and a bench warrant for his arrest was executed last month.

Limerick Circuit Court was told a pensioner who was working as a locum at the post office was threatened by another man who entered the premises and brandished a large knife before demanding that he hand over cash from the till.

Detective Garda Chris Cowan said the Jonathan Philips and another man waited in a Seat Inca van which was parked in the car park of the nearby Centra store.

The prime culprit 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.

Detective 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”.

Sentencing Jonathan Philips, who was the driver of the getaway van, Judge O’Donnell noted the case was one of common design and he said the matter was very serious given that a weapon was produced and threats were made.

He said the defendant’s multiple previous convictions were an aggravating factor and he noted the lack of structure in his life has caused considerable difficulties for him.

According to a probation report prepared for the court, there is a “very high risk” of him reoffending.

The judge imposed a five and-a-half year prison sentence, suspending the final 12 months.

The sentence was back-dated to the date of the execution of the bench warrant.

An application to have the Seat van forfeited to the State was granted.