'A' student held up nine shops in week on cocaine
A FORMER straight-A student who carried out nine robberies in seven days while on crack cocaine has been jailed for four years.
Laurence Bryan (33) hit the same pharmacy four times in four days.
In one day he shop-lifted from three different shops in The Square and in Fortunestown Shopping Centre, Tallaght, Dublin.
Bryan, of Brookview Crescent, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to carrying out nine robberies in the area between March 15 and 22.
He admitted possession of a weapon during some of these robberies.
He also pleaded guilty to three thefts and stealing a car on February 22, 2013, and to robbery of a pharmacy in Fortunestown Shopping Centre.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring suspended the last 18 months of a five-and-a-half year prison term and backdated the sentence to March 2013.
Bryan was spending up to €450 a day to feed a crack cocaine habit.
During the robberies he would jump over the shop counters before threatening staff with a large kitchen knife.
He robbed a retail outlet on Blessington Road, Tallaght, on March 15, 16, 17 and 19.
He used a knife to rob €800 from staff working in the Hickey's pharmacy in Fortunestown on March 17 and to take €700 from the till in KFC restaurant in City West shopping centre, Tallaght.
The court heard staff were terrified during another armed hold up of an Eddie Rockets restaurant in the same shopping centre earlier that night.
Sarah Jane Callaghan BL, defending, said her client was a very bright child who was always in the top class and got all As while in school. She said he got into drugs because he was bored and understimulated.
Bryan began dabbling in cannabis and at the age of 15 he started taking heroin.
Despite this, he completed his Leaving Certificate.
Counsel said Bryan wants to do an open university degree in business.
He has written letters of apology to the victims of his crimes and invited them to contact him so he can apologise in person.
Counsel said Bryan's mother suffered two brain aneurysms during his Leaving Cert year.
His brother was murdered in 2006 and Bryan only started offending in 2008, counsel said.
Bryan has 122 previous convictions including robbery, criminal damage and possession of knives. His counsel said: "He certainly didn't hold back once he started into crime."