Robber who terrorised Tallaght West credit union staff gets two-and-a-half years in jail

Robber who terrorised Tallaght West credit union staff gets two-and-a-half years in jail

By Sarah Jane-Murphy

A robber who threatened credit union staff with a hatchet and a knife has been sentenced to two-and-half years in prison.

Judge Martin Nolan commended a member of staff at Tallaght West Credit Union for “doing the sensible thing” when she handed over €4,000 to Brian Collins (43) who had begun to smash the glass security screen with a hatchet.

Dublin Courts 4

Garda Barry O’Mahony told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that employees at the Credit Union heard “lots of noise and shouting” and observed a security guard asking Collins to calm down.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Collins screamed: “Give me the f***ing money and don’t dare call the gardai.”

The Credit Union employee gave him €2,000 in fifty euro notes, but when he began to smash the glass security screen she feared he would gain entry behind the counter, and gave him a further €2,000, Garda O’Mahony told Ms McGowan.

While making his escape, Collins dropped some of the stolen cash, and left with €3,800, the court heard.

Collins, of Mountpellier Court, Jobstown, pleaded guilty to the robbery of Tallaght West Credit Union on July 8, 2016.

Garda O’Mahony said he arrested the accused two months later when he spotted him outside a shop in the Tallaght area.

The court heard extracts from a joint victim impact statement, in which the three members of the credit union staff said that Collins behaved in a “very aggressive manner”.

They have had to receive counselling and support from family and friends in order to remain in their current place of employment, due to their traumatic experience.

Ms McGowan told the court Collins had previous convictions for drug possession, handling stolen property and drink driving.

Sarah-Jane O’Callaghan BL, defending, said that Collins “felt sick” when gardai showed him the CCTV of the robbery, and said he didn’t remember it as he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Ms O’Callaghan said he carried out the crime to discharge a substantial drug debt of between €3,000 to €4,000.

Collins briefly addressed Judge Nolan from the dock, telling him: “My dark days are behind me. I am so sorry, I would love to apologise to these people individually.”

Judge Nolan said it was “a pretty serious robbery” during which customers and members of staff were threatened with weapons.

He noted that the stolen monies were never recovered.

However, Judge Nolan said the fact Collins carried out the crime due to addiction and debt was no defence.

“He made an ill-judged decision to rob in order to pay money back and a custodial sentence is unavoidable,” he said.

Judge Nolan gave Collins credit for his early guilty plea, his co-operation with gardai and his record of employment.

He sentenced him to two-and-a-half years with the final two years suspended.

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