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Chef sentenced to five years for crime spree

Chef sentenced to five years for crime spree

A qualified chef who resorted to robbery to get prescription medication to feed his drug addiction has been sentenced to five years for a three week crime spree.

Desmond Dunne (39) who is originally from Clondalkin, Dublin but who is living in a hostel on Manor Street in Stoneybatter, was armed with a syringe and a blade during three robberies and one attempted raid.

He made admissions following his arrest. He said in relation to one robbery on South William Street that he was “banged to rights” after viewing CCTV footage of the raid.

“I was desperate for tablets and got a bang for my troubles, then I left,” Dunne told gardaí referring to an altercation between him and a member of a staff.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three robberies, one attempted robbery and criminal damage at various Dublin pharmacies on dates between November 26 and December 18, 2014. He has 23 previous convictions including four for robbery.

Luigi Rea BL, defending said Dunne began to dabble in cannabis at the age of 15 and was both smoking and injecting heroin by the time he was 18.

He had previously qualified as a chef and had been able to buy drugs with the wages he earned.

Counsel said that Dunne spent time in rehab and was clean for three and half years but he later lost his job, couldn't afford drugs and began offending.

Mr Rea said Dunne hoped to return to work but acknowledged that it would be very difficult for him now to get a job.

He asked Judge Melaine Greally to accept that Dunne had stopped carrying out robberies and that “he will not trouble the court with this kind of offending again”.

Detective Garda Eoin Colbert told Caroline Cummings BL, prosecuting Dunne arrived into Lloyds Pharmacy on Chaplin's Place in November 2014 with a suspicious prescription.

The staff refused to dispense the medication because they believed it had been altered as the quantities stated were unusually large. The pharmacist told Dunne she didn't have enough stock to complete the prescription and he left enraged.

He returned some minutes later with a bottle and smashed the front window of the shop causing €908 worth of damage.

Two days later Dunne robbed €100 worth of prescription drugs and €157 in cash from Capel Pharmacy in Capel Street after threatening staff with a syringe.

Det Gda Colbert said on December 7, 2014 Dunne robbed €220 in cash from South William Street Pharmacy on South William Street, after again threatening staff with a syringe and instructing the man not to press the panic alarm.

An altercation broke out during this raid when the staff member tried to defend himself with a display unit and Dunne pushed him to the ground.

Three days later he tried to rob O'Connors Pharmacy on Bath Avenue but one of the women in the chemist managed to get out of the shop and raise the alarm.

Dunne left as soon as he noticed this without taking anything but he had threatened both women with a syringe and had demanded tablets and cash.

The final raid was of Booterstown Pharmacy on Booterstown Avenue on December 18, 2014. Dunne was armed with a blade and demanded cash and medication before he left with €260 and a quantity of prescription drugs.

Det Gda Colbert said Dunne was nominated as a suspect after viewing CCTV footage. His home was searched and clothing, which matched what the raider was wearing during the robberies, were seized.

Judge Greally said “It is an all too familiar picture of a very serious and deeply embedded drug addiction. There is no reason whatsoever to doubt that all your actions were motivated by your desire to support that addiction.”

She said the robberies were unpleasant and frightening and that he had committed the offence in the context of a criminal record having served substantial periods of imprisonment.

Judge Greally said there was “no doubt” that Dunne “is capable of conducting himself in a pro-social way and has some talent and skill”.

She suspended the last 18 months of the five year term on strict conditions including that Dunne co-operate with the Probation Service for 18 months and undergo drug treatment.