Gardai fear vicious thug will resume campaign of terror after avoiding jail
GardaI fear one of the capital's most dangerous criminals will strike again after being granted probation by a Dublin court.
Our exclusive photo shows Finglas thug Dean Kelly (25), who was responsible for a campaign of terror against members of the public in the city centre in 2010.
This led to a major garda operation to stop him.
He fled Dublin later that year after being busted by officers from Pearse Street Garda Station.
Kelly, who was 17 at the time, was linked to a savage gang that was responsible for robbing head shops - stores that sell legal highs - on both sides of the Liffey.
In many cases, the robberies were not reported to gardai, who took a dim view of these now outlawed stores.
However, officers were able to link Kelly to a spate of violent street robberies in which people were terrorised while walking on some of the capital's busiest thoroughfares.
These crimes were outlined at Dublin's Children's Court last week.
Kelly remained impassive as Judge John O'Connor imposed a 12-month probation bond after hearing that the career criminal had been given a positive probation report.
It means Kelly, who admitted a string of offences in Dublin, will not serve time in jail.
The court heard that on March 18, 2010, he stole an iPod worth €150 and €85 from a man on Exchequer Street.
Also outlined was a brutal assault on a man in Crampton Court on April 4, 2010, and the robbery of a €90 Nokia mobile phone in Bedford Lane, both on the city's southside.
Kelly also admitted assault causing harm to a man on Wellington Quay, in the city centre, on May 15, 2010, and three robberies on March 26, 2010.
In the first, €5 was taken from a man in Lincoln Place, D2; in the second, a €300 iPhone was stolen from another man in the same location; and in the third incident, €3 was taken from anther man.
Kelly, who was extradited to Ireland last year after serving a six-year prison sentence in England for violent robbery, is regarded by senior garda officers as one of Dublin's most brutal street criminals.
"Does a man like this change?" a senior gardai source said last night.
"A huge investigation led to him being charged with these offences.
"So he was caught, charged and brought before the courts but he fled to England where he was jailed for a violent robbery.
"He is then extradited back here to face these charges as a grown man but gets all the benefit of the Children's Court."