A teenager who pointed a realistic replica firearm at a woman as she de-iced her car on a Sunday morning and then drove off in the vehicle has been given a seven-year sentence.
Carlos Lawrence, now 20, approached her, warning: "Don't move or I will shoot you," before later crashing the car after a garda chase. He told gardai he had taken head shop drugs.
Lawrence, of Rosary Road, Maryland, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to unlawfully seizing a car and producing an imitation firearm with the intention of unlawfully seizing a car at Botanic Avenue, Drumcondra, on December 20, 2009.
Judge Tony Hunt commented that it was easy to imagine oneself in the position of the woman going about her business before being threatened "with a most realistic facsimile of a semi-automatic revolver".
Judge Hunt imposed a seven-year sentence and suspended the final two years on strict conditions. He imposed a 10-year driving disqualification.
Detective Garda Paul Mulcahy told Martina Baxter, prosecuting, that he was on patrol in an unmarked car when he responded to a garda alert that a Nissan Primera had been taken at gunpoint.
He spotted the stolen car on Dorset Street, activated the siren and pursued it. The stolen car drove through a set of red lights before later crashing into a pole on Georges Lane where it was boxed in by patrol cars.
Det Garda Mulcahy said Lawrence was removed from the car and gardai found a black handgun in the footwell. The car was damaged beyond repair.
The gun was a replica weapon and was not capable of being fired.
The woman told gardai she had gone out of her house to de-ice her car on a cold morning at 9.30am and had sat in the driver's seat with the heating turned up. As the rear window defrosted she noticed a youth hanging around the area.
The front windscreen was not defrosting as quickly and she got out to try to clear it by hand. As she got out, the youth was standing in front of her and pointing the gun at her chest. He told her: "Don't move or I will shoot."
He jumped into the driver's seat and the woman ran back to her house. She rang gardai and gave a description of the youth but did not see where the car went.
Lawrence admitted driving the car and told gardai he had taken drugs from a head shop. He has 21 previous convictions for offences including threatening and abusive behaviour, theft, and obstructing police officers.