Shop owner felt she was in ‘reign of terror’
By Sonya McLean
The owner of three convenience stores has stated in a victim impact statement that she felt she was in a “reign of terror” after two of her shops were robbed six times.
Breda Cahill’s statement was prepared for the sentencing of Brendan Payne (36) who robbed one of her shops, after he was prevented by gardai from raiding another one of her shops three weeks earlier.
Payne of Russell Court, Russell Square, Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to having a knife with the intention of using to incapacitate or intimidate another on the Ballinteer Road on December 29, 2017 and to robbery at Centra, Rathfarnham on January 19, 2018.
His 55 previous convictions include robbery, possession of knives, burglary and public order offences.
Judge Melanie Greally suspended the last three years of a nine year prison sentence on condition that Payne keep the peace for that period and that he engage with the Probation Services for 18 months after his release.
She also imposed conditions that he continue to attend prison drug services while in custody and take up residential drug treatment afterwards.
She noted Payne told the court that he was tired of his life of offending and wanted to break the cycle once and for all. He also said he had used drugs since the age of 12 and that his mother’s alcoholism had repeatedly being a trigger for him relapsing out of efforts to get clean.
In a statement, read by Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, Ms Cahill outlined that she owns three shops in the Ballinteer and Rathfarnham area of Dublin and employs 68 local staff.
Garda Michael Lynch told the court that the shop in Ballinteer was under surveillance “in anticipation of a robbery”. He said he spotted Payne stopping outside the shop on a bike with his face covered and a knife in his right hand.
Payne was grabbed by gardai but resisted arrest and officers had to use their pepper spray “to subdue him”, Gda Lynch said. The knife, which fell during the struggle was later recovered.
Ms Cahill’s statement outlined that she had to spend “every minute of every day” in the shop in the following weeks to support her staff, give them peace of mind and “let them know they are not alone”.
“What if he had got by the garda? How do I protect my people?” Ms Cahill asked. She acknowledged that the garda put his own life at risk but asked “what hope to do others have” to put a stop to armed robbers?
She described the crimes as a “reign of terror” and said her 10 year old son has told her he will keep going to karate so he could protect her in the future.
“Kids should not have to think like that,” Ms Cahill said.
Three weeks after his arrest in Ballinteer, Payne went into Ms Cahill’s Rathfarnham shop and threatened staff with a Stanley type blade. There were several people and children in the shop at the time and the manager prevented other customers from entering, telling them there was a robbery going on.
Payne stole €608 in cash and cigarettes but was later chased by an off duty garda who happened to be in the area and arrested him. Payne made no admissions during interview but DNA samples were taken from him.
A victim impact statement from the man who was working behind the till during Payne’s raid on the store in Rathfarnham stated “Nobody should have to go to their job in fear of being robbed”.