Man armed with a hammer in raid on post office avoids jail
A MAN who was arrested in Westmeath after carrying out a “terrifying” armed raid on a post office has been spared jail.
Ian Mansfield (24) and his accomplice Eugene Byrne (21) fled the scene on a motorbike and led gardai on a chase from the Dublin post office to Mullingar, Co Westmeath.
Mansfield (right) of Fortlawn Drive, Blanchardstown, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempted robbery at Clonsilla Post Office on December 16, 2013.
Judge Martin Nolan suspended a sentence of five years imprisonment on condition that Mansfield be of good behaviour for that period.
He said he was giving Mansfield a serious chance and that even a minor infraction in the future could result in him going to jail for five years.
He noted that Mansfield has no other criminal record and there was a very good chance of reform. The court heard he comes from a very good family.
Detective Sergeant Paul
Tallon said that the post mistress has suffered nightmares since the raid. She is now on edge all the time and is cautious with every customer.
Judge Nolan said that Mansfield terrified the post mistress and her mother, who was also working that day, during the attempted robbery.
Witnesses told gardai that Mansfield was brandishing a hammer and his accomplice had what appeared to be a silver gun. Both men went into the post office wearing motorcycle helmets.
The post mistress’s mother became frightened and hit the panic button. The raid lasted about one minute before the men left without any cash and made off on a motorcycle.
Det Sgt Tallon told James Dwyer BL, prosecuting, that he was on duty in an unmarked patrol car and responded to an alert about the raid. He pursued the raiders and the Air Support Unit was called in.
The lengthy pursuit down the N4 dual carriageway ended in Mullingar, Co Westmeath at a second roadblock set up by gardai. The men had managed to evade capture at an earlier roadblock.
Mansfield told gardai that he had gone down that morning to pick up his social welfare payments. He said he then met up with Byrne and they went “for a spin”. He claimed he had a drug debt of €100.
Judge Nolan said that there was no actual violence used and if there had been he would have jailed Mansfield.
Byrne of Lohunda Down, Clonsilla, Dublin has pleaded guilty to the attempted robbery and is due to be sentenced in March.