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Armed robber jailed for bungled building society heist

Armed robber jailed for bungled building society heist

A judge has praised a garda for his bravery in chasing and arresting an armed robber and the manager of the raided premises for putting himself “in the line of fire”.

Garda Martin Egan spotted Ronald Emmett (36) running from the EBS in Killiney, Dublin and Barry O’Brien, the manager, following quickly behind.

Emmett had his face partially covered and Gda Egan saw he was carrying a gun in a rolled up newspaper.

He ordered the raider to stop running and chased after him when he refused, ultimately tackling him and arresting him. The gun later transpired to be an imitation but the garda confirmed that it “created the impression of a genuine gun to an untrained eye”.

Emmett of Cloonmore Gardens, Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery and possession of a realistic imitation firearm on December 12, 2013. He robbed €153.59 after threatening cashiers with a gun that was wrapped in a yellow duster.

Emmett had 39 previous convictions for hi-jacking, carrying a firearm, producing an article, handling stolen property and being in possession of forged prescriptions. He was on  bail for previous robbery offences when he carried out this one.

Emmett took the stand in his defence and claimed that he had been “practically set up” and was told there would be a minimum of €30,000 in the EBS that day.

He told the court he needed money for his addiction and it was an act of desperation. 

He said he was now on methadone and attempting to deal with his addiction.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring complimented Mr O’Brien, who she said had put himself “in the line of fire” to ensure the safety of his staff and customers.

“He went beyond the call of duty,” Judge Ring said before she also commended Gda Egan on “taking on Emmett”.

She imposed a sentence of four years consecutive to a five year term Emmett is currently serving. The final two years of the sentence were suspended after she noted Emmett’s intention to become drug free.

Gda Egan told Sinéad McMullan BL, prosecuting, that Emmett approached a cashier with his face covered and hood up before he shouted “fill it. Press no buttons” and handed over a bag.

The cashier told him she had no cash in her till but Emmett came behind the counter.

Mr O’Brien then approached him and tried to explain the situation but Emmett continued to search the counter using the gun and continued to demand cash.

Mr O’Brien, who was in fear for his safety, his staff and the customer in the shop, tried to edge Emmett towards the door and the raider eventually, left the shop with a small amount of cash.

Mr O’Brien then gave chase which was when Gda Egan intervened.

Gda Egan agreed with Carol Doherty BL, defending, that no one was physical injured during the raid and Gda Egan appeared on the scene very quickly.

He accepted that it was “not the most sophisticated crime” and that Emmett had dropped a bag of coins during the struggle with Gda Egan.

Emmett told the court he was introduced to heroin by an older group as a young man. He said he struggled to get help.

He told Judge Ring he had a good education, was a qualified scaffolder and has continued to try and battle his addiction.

“I never had the tools to deal with outside problems from 14 to 25 years old. I had never mentally grown up like a normal teenager,” Emmett said.