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Man with 'threat to shoot' note went on north Dublin robbery spree

CourtsBy Sunday World
Accused has 112 previous convictions
Accused has 112 previous convictions

A man who robbed a number of bookmakers by handing a note under the counter claiming he had a gun has been jailed for four and a half years.

Gary Simpson (29), who has 112 previous convictions, was not disguised and was captured on CCTV footage of the incidents. His fingerprints were on the notes which he left behind.

Simpson, of Cunningham Road, Dublin 8 and formerly of Northwood, Santry, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four robberies and two attempted robberies at bookmakers and a Post Office in Drumcondra, Whitehall, Ballymun and Parnell Street on dates in November and December 2015.

Simpson also pleaded guilty to an attempted robbery at a bus stop on the Swords Road and burglary of a purse from a staff room at Starbucks, Omni Shopping Centre in August 2014. He was on bail for those offences when he committed the bookmaker robberies.

The court heard that in March 2013 Simpson recieved a five year sentence with the final three years suspended for robberies. He was released in June 2014 and was on the suspended portion of that sentence when he committed these latest offences.

Judge Patricia Ryan noted that Simpson had successfully completed a residential drug rehabilitation course. She reactivated the suspended portion of the previous sentence and imposed a concurrent total sentence of six years with the final 18 months suspended.

Garda Colm McElligott told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, that on November 27, 2015 Simpson pushed a bag and note under the security screen at the Post Office in Drumcondra.

The note said: “I have a gun. All I want is money. I will shoot. Pay out.”

The staff member refused to give out any money and ordered Simpson out. He left empty handed.

Later that day Simpson went to Boyle Sports on the Lower Drumcondra Road with a bag and similar note. A staff member saw what he thought was the end of a pistol and handed over money.

The court heard Simpson employed a similar modus operandi in three further robberies and one attempted robbery using notes, accompanied by verbal threats, that he had a gun and would shoot if staff did not hand over cash. He made off with amounts varying from between €150 and €750.

CCTV was downloaded of all of the incidents and following the final robbery on December 2, 2015 Simpson was stopped and arrested nearby. He made admissions during garda interview.

Gda McElligott agreed with defence counsel, Martina Baxter BL, that Simpson made no attempt to disguise himself and if confronted he would leave the premises. He agreed it was “not the cleverest crime” and that he left behind the notes with his fingerprints on them.

He agreed with Ms Baxter that Simpson had grown up surrounded by alcoholism and addiction and that when things went wrong in his life he turned to drink and committed offences.

Ms Baxter said Simpson had begun dabbling in drugs and getting into trouble as a young teenager. He was homeless for many years and had been in and out of custody in recent years. She said he was a different man when he was not using drink, tablets or snow blow.

She submitted that no physical violence was used during the offences. She said he was dealing with his addictions and wanted to be around for his children.