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Jailed robber was caught out by DNA on Ribena carton

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Hamilton stole cigarettes and cash from an Applegreen

Hamilton stole cigarettes and cash from an Applegreen

Hamilton stole cigarettes and cash from an Applegreen

A robber who was identified by gardai after they found his DNA on a box of juice he drank shortly before the offence has been jailed for three years.

Gareth Hamilton (26), of Drumconnick, Co Cavan, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery at Applegreen service station, Inchicore, Dublin, on November 28, 2018.

He had previous convictions for attempted robbery, burglary and possession of stolen property.

Cutter

Detective Garda Sean Byrne told Garrett McCormack, prosecuting, that on the evening in question, Hamilton entered the service station, walked up to the counter and asked for cigarettes.

Det Gda Byrne said that after the cashier got the cigarettes, Hamilton asked him to open the till slowly and took a box cutter out of his trouser pocket.

He leaned over the counter, took €350 from the till and left with the money and the cigarettes.

Gardai obtained CCTV footage that showed Hamilton drinking a carton of Ribena inside the premises.

They recovered the carton and found traces of DNA and his fingerprints.

Det Gda Byrne agreed with Brian Storan, defending, that his client identified himself on CCTV footage.

He agreed that Hamilton said he was "off his head" on drugs and spent the stolen money on crack cocaine.

Mr Storan said his client grew up first in Belfast and was placed in a care home before being taken in by his grandparents.

He asked the court to consider that his client was rehabilitated from drug use.

Judge Melanie Greally said his previous convictions were committed over "a relatively finite time" period in 2018 and 2019 and noted he was on bail at the time of the robbery.

She said Hamilton had employment on his father's farm and wished to live with his father once released from custody.

She said if he could overcome his drug use, he had "the potential to get his life back on track".

The judge sentenced him to four-and-a-half years' imprisonment, but suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions.

She ordered the sentence to run consecutive to a sentence he is currently serving.