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Heroin addict “took a chance” and grabbed €6,500 in notes from newsagents

Blanchardstown Shopping Centre
Blanchardstown Shopping Centre

A heroin addict who “took a chance” and grabbed €6,500 in notes that were lying on the counter in a Dublin newsagents has received a three-year prison sentence with the final year suspended.

Jonathan Duggan (27), formerly of Ballinderry Park, Mayfield, Cork pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to one count of theft on September 3, 2015.

The court heard that Duggan went into Tom Stanley’s Newsagents in Blanchardstown Shopping Centre to buy a drink. He then saw €6,500 in notes lying on the counter and grabbed them, before running out of the shop.

The shop assistant pursued Duggan out of the shop, shouting to security guards that he had been robbed.

They caught up with Duggan, and took him back to the shopping centre. Duggan took the money from his pocket and it was returned. He said he had seen the cash on the counter “and took a chance”.

He later told gardaí he was living in Cork but visiting his partner – with whom he has a young daughter – in Dublin.

Duggan told gardai he hadn’t threatened anyone and had “just turned and ran” after grabbing the cash.

Tony McGillicuddy, BL, prosecuting, said the shop assistant was anxious for several weeks after the event and was nervous about working alone in the shop.

Kitty Perle BL, defending, said Duggan, who is currently in custody, had struggled with a heroin addiction for more than two decades, having first began using the drug when he was just 15 years old.

The court heard that Duggan has 91 previous convictions, and his family in Cork are known to gardaí.

“Many of his previous convictions would have his addiction to heroin as the source,” Ms Perle told the court, adding that he is currently trying to address his addiction.

Ms Perle said Duggan had a very supportive partner, a former heroin user herself, who has been clean for the past four years.

“He is somebody who is extremely remorseful about this incident,” said Ms Perle. “He’s aware it’s his addiction that is the source of the offending behaviour. … He’s at a very fragile point in his life and if he has help he can take a different direction.”

Judge Gerard Griffin sentenced Duggan to three years imprisonment with the final 12 months suspended, backdated to 9 February 2017.