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Friday 6 December 2019

Man jailed over robbery of OAP who won €23k in city centre casino

Declan Connolly (36) of Coultry Drive, Santry Avenue, Dublin 9, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of the woman outside her home in Templeogue on October 7, 2016
Declan Connolly (36) of Coultry Drive, Santry Avenue, Dublin 9, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of the woman outside her home in Templeogue on October 7, 2016

Two men have been sentenced for their role in the mugging of a 73-year-old woman who had just won €23,000 playing roulette in a city centre casino.

Declan Connolly (36), who was the getaway driver, was sentenced to five years in prison with the final two-and-a-half years suspended, while Brian English (27), who monitored the activities of the woman in the casino, was given a three-year suspended sentence.

Judge Martin Nolan also ordered that €6,500 brought to court by English be handed over to gardai for transmission to the woman.

Spotter

Connolly, of Coultry Drive, Santry Avenue, Dublin 9, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of the woman outside her home in Templeogue on October 7, 2016.

He had 11 previous convictions for minor offences.

English, of Chancery Hall, North King Street, Dublin, pleaded guilty to stealing the €23,000 from the woman after gardai were satisfied he acted as "a spotter" and passed on information in relation to the victim. He had no previous convictions.

The man who actually mugged the victim as she was collecting post from the postbox outside her home has yet to be brought before the courts.

Det Gda Peter Lyons said gardai viewed a large amount of CCTV footage from the area and believed the getaway vehicle had been fitted with false registration plates.

They were then able to determine the true details of the car, which had been registered to Connolly.

Connolly's home was searched, his mobile phone was seized and analysed and he was arrested. He made no admissions during garda interview.

Det Gda Lyons said CCTV footage from The Fitzwilliam Casino and Card Club showed English monitoring the victim's activities.

A warrant was secured to search his home and a mobile phone was taken for analysis.

The analysis showed communication between the phones up to the time the woman left the casino. CCTV footage also showed English approaching Connolly's car at one point.

English was arrested and interviewed but again made no admissions.

Judge Nolan said the woman won €23,000, "the situation was noticed and people decided to rob her".

He said the woman was foll-owed to her home and Connolly knew that when the third man left his car, that man's ambition was to rob the victim.

Violence

Judge Nolan accepted English was spotted watching the victim and he was linked back to the crime by examining phone communication.

He accepted that Connolly had expressed genuine remorse, but said it was a serious crime and a planned robbery during which violence was used and a substantial amount of money was taken.

He suspended the final two-and-a-half years of a five-year sentence.

In relation to English, Judge Nolan noted yesterday that a plea had been accepted to theft and therefore he was not accountable for what happened during the robbery.

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