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Hotel robber's tracksuit 'worn by half of Dublin', accused tells court

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Gary Simpson said he was ‘completely innocent’

Gary Simpson said he was ‘completely innocent’

Paddy Cummins/PCPhoto.ie

Gary Simpson said he was ‘completely innocent’

A Dublin man has been accused of robbing a city centre hotel by threatening the receptionist with a broken bottle top before fleeing when staff confronted him.

Gary Simpson (32) is alleged to have had his face partially covered with a scarf when he carried out the alleged robbery.

Mr Simpson has protested his innocence, saying the suspect seen on CCTV was wearing a tracksuit that "half of Dublin city wears".

Judge Miriam Walsh refused him bail at Dublin District Court and remanded him in custody.

Simpson, with an address at homeless accommodation at Old Cabra Road, is charged with robbery.

Denial

The prosecuting garda said he arrested the accused and brought him to Store Street Garda Station, where his reply to the charge after caution was "completely innocent".

The garda said he arrested the accused at Granby Row, Dublin 1, on suspicion of robbery at Jury's Hotel on Parnell Street on March 25.

Objecting to bail, he said it was alleged a lone male entered the hotel at around 11pm that night with his face partially covered by a distinctive red and white scarf.

He was also described as wearing a distinctive two-tone North Face tracksuit.

The man walked to the side of the desk and then behind it, where he approached the receptionist.

He took a broken glass bottle top from his pocket and threatened the alleged victim, telling her to open the tills, the garda added.

She told him the tills were open and there was no cash in them.

Other staff came over to assist her and the man walked behind the counter and took the woman's smartphone, then attempted to leave.

He was challenged by other staff, the phone was recovered and he fled, the garda said.

The panic alarm was then activated.

When gardai saw the accused at Granby Row, he was wearing a two-tone North Face tracksuit and had a distinctive red and white scarf tied around his face, covering part of it, the garda said.

Gardai viewed CCTV of the alleged robbery which was "very good quality".

Applying for bail, defence solicitor Tracy Horan said it was not put to the accused in interview that the alleged offence involved a broken bottle top or that the alleged robber was wearing a scarf.

He maintained his innocence throughout his detention, she said.

Ms Horan said the garda referred to an individual wearing a tracksuit that Mr Simpson said "half of north inner city Dublin wears".

Distinctive

The garda said certain elements of it were distinctive.

Mr Simpson repeatedly told the court: "I am innocent."

Pleading for bail, he said he would lose his accommodation and job if he was remanded in custody.

"I did not do anything," he said.

"Yes, I have a tracksuit, half of Dublin city and surrounding areas are wearing that tracksuit.

"I am looking you in the eye and telling you I had nothing to do with what happened. Nothing whatsoever," he told Judge Walsh.

The judge refused bail and remanded him in custody, to appear in Cloverhill District Court on March 31.