Dublin man who robbed local off licence caught after being recognised by the manager

Robbery: The manager of the off licence instantly recognised the man
Robbery: The manager of the off licence instantly recognised the man

A man who robbed his local off license on his birthday has been jailed after the manager instantly recognised him despite having his face covered.

Graham Bannon (26) of Walkinstown Park, Walkinstown, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery at The Trader’s Office License on December 4, 2013.
He also pleaded guilty to possession of €210 worth of cocaine earlier that year which gardaí accepted was for his own use.
Bannon has 178 previous convictions, 146 of which are for road traffic offences. The others are for handling stolen property, theft, affray, criminal damage, possession of knives, public order, failure to appear and violent behaviour in a garda station.
Judge Martin Nolan described Bannon as “a general menace to everyone” and jailed him for two and half years.
He accepted that Bannon has since tried to educate himself while on remand in prison to “make himself a useful member of society” but said the robbery had been a frightening incident for those who witnessed it.
Bannon went the pub attached to The Trader’s Off License on his birthday but was refused service because he was drunk. He then went into the off license and bought a lotto ticket. 
Detective Garda Michael Redmond told Sinead McMullan BL, prosecuting that he returned there at 9.30pm with his face covered by a scarf and armed with a claw hammer. He was still wearing the same clothing as earlier.
Bannon went behind the counter and took €560 from the till. A customer who was in the off license went to the adjoining pub and alerted the assistant manager, who instantly recognised Bannon and told him so.
Det Gda Redmond said Bannon raised the hammer in a “threatening manner” before running out of the shop.
Gardaí searched Bannon’s home two hours later and found clothing matching that of the raider in his bedroom along with the hammer. He was arrested and although he accepted that he had been in the shop earlier that day he denied the robbery.
Pieter Le Vert BL, defending said his client was 17 years old when his step-father died from a heart attack in front of him.
He said the incident had a massive impact on Bannon and he has suffered from panic attacks since. He then started “to mix with the wrong crowd” and take drugs and alcohol.
Mr Le Vert said his client sustained a head injury following an assault in 2011 which led to him being in an induced coma for 18 days. His eye sight is now impaired and he has difficulty communicating.
Counsel said Bannon has been doing well since his remand in custody and has been attending counselling. He is in contact with his six-year-old daughter and has the support of his mother.
By Sonya McLean