A LIMERICK man who threatened staff at a McDonalds restaurant in the UK while wearing a terrifying clown mask has been jailed for five years.
Zachary Coughlan-Ryan, 41, who is originally from South Claughaun Road, Garryowen, Limerick was prosecuted in relation to an incident at Earlsdon, Coventry which occurred shortly after midnight on August 7.
According to West Midlands Police, Mr Coughlan-Ryan, of no fixed abode, jumped over the counter and pointed the eight-inch blade into the stomach of a 28-year-old worker as he demanded cash from the till.
The defendant, who has a large number of previous convictions relating to offences in Limerick, was quickly arrested by two police officers who, coincidently, were in the restaurant at the time on a break.
According to police, he was quickly tasered and disarmed and handcuffed by the officers who then arrested him.
Mr Coughlan-Ryan was jailed for five years at Warwick Crown Court, last week, after he pleaded guilty to a charge of robbery. He will spend a further three years on licence following his release.
West Midlands Police has released CCTV footage of the incident as well as footage from the officers’ body-worn cameras that capture the moment the store manager thanks police for coming to the rescue.
"I was in the office having finished my shift when I heard a scream from one of my team. I ran out to find a man in a clown mask holding a big knife..I can remember the light glinting off the blade. All I could see was his eyes," he said.
“He made threats for money and when I told him we only had one till with cash, and that there wasn’t much in it, he got agitated and pushed the knife against my stomach. I turned to go back to the office, to buy some time," he said.
"I knew it was a case of fight or flight and I had a decision to make. But the moment I turned my back I heard a loud crack; I didn’t realise at the time but it was the sound of the police officer’s taser going off," he added.
West Midlands Police Detective Inspector Kat Sibley said: "The officers were patrolling shortly after midnight and had stopped on a ‘refs’ break…they were in exactly the right place at the right time. Thankfully no-one was hurt and the man has rightly been handed a jail term for what was a nasty robbery."