Man jailed for two armed robberies on young schoolchildren

The children had just got off the Dart when the attacks happened
The children had just got off the Dart when the attacks happened

A young Wicklow man has been jailed after he admitted carrying out two armed robberies of school children.

During one robbery Aaron Doyle punched a schoolboy in the face before taking his smart mobile phone.

Doyle (19) of Cois Cairn, Old Connaught Avenue, Bray, Co Wicklow, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery and attempted robbery at the Dodder Walkway, Irishtown on May 19, 2014.

He also admitted robbery at Marlborough Road, Glenageary, Dublin, on the same date. This robbery took place an hour after the first incidents.

Judge Martin Nolan said Doyle had “picked on young boys”. He suspended the last 15 months of a three-year prison sentence on condition he keeps the peace for that period.

Garda Brian Hunt told Maddie Grant BL, prosecuting, that the victims in the first incident were sixth class students who were travelling the Dart from Booterstown, where they had played a schools cricket match.

The group got off the Dart at Lansdowne Road and the two victims, who were aged eleven and 12 and wearing school uniforms, walked towards the Dodder to go home.

Doyle and another man came up to them and produced a knife while demanding they hand over their phones. The accused was later identified getting off at Lansdowne Road on CCTV images provided by Irish Rail and was arrested at his home.

An hour after the first robbery Doyle and another man came up behind a 14-year-old boy who was walking from Glenageary Dart station and pulled him back using his school bag. The assailants pulled a knife out at one point and Doyle punched the boy.

Doyle's 11 previous convictions include an offence of handling stolen property, for which he is already serving a ten-month sentence.

Eoin Gallagher BL, defending, said his client has been placed under protective custody in prison and had come under pressure in the past from “local elements” unrelated to these offences.

He said Doyle is the second youngest of seven children, none of whom have come before the courts. He said both his parents were in court to support him.

Counsel said Doyle began getting into trouble in his early teens after falling in with a bad group. He wished to apologise to the victims and their parents and was now aware that what he did was “heinous”.

- By Declan Brennan