Mum escapes jail for getaway driver role
A man and a woman who met on the night they were involved in an armed robbery have avoided jail.
Suzanne O’Connell (42) was the get away driver for Daniel McMahon (23) and another man who went into the petrol station in Clonsilla, Dublin armed with a pellet gun and a knife.
O’Connell of Whitestown Crescent, Blanchardstown, Dublin and McMahon of Woodlands, Clonsilla, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of the Applegreen shop on September 19, 2013.
Detective Garda Rebecca Doolin said that gardai had O’Connell under observation on the night and followed her as she drove from her home to a house on Briarwood Lawn, Clonsilla where she picked up McMahon and another man.
She drove off and parked on a cul-de-sac road opposite the petrol station. The two men got out and, wearing balaclavas, walked into the shop. McMahon was pointing what looked like a 6mm colt handgun and demanding money. The other man had a knife.
The raiders told staff to fill a plastic bag with cash and they left with around €800. Gardai who had followed the car then moved in and arrested all three.
They shouted “armed gardai, stop” as the men left the shop and the men threw down their weapons. The gun was found to be a pellet gun and was a convincing replica, the court heard.
After his arrest McMahon said he didn’t know O’Connell and they had only met that night. Detective Doolin agreed with McMahon when he said: “I’m not a big criminal mastermind”.
He has no previous convictions and O’Connell’s convictions are for road traffic offences and a drug dealing offence in 2002.
Garnet Orange SC, defending, said she is actively involved in the care of her autistic son.
Ronan Kennedy BL, defending McMahon, said he comes from a very decent family and that things spiralled out of control for him after his cousin, who he was very close to, killed himself. He said he is now back in education and also carries out volunteer work.
Judge Martin Nolan suspended a five year prison term on condition that each of them keep the peace for that time. He said he was taking into consideration their personal circumstances and the mitigating factors of a guilty plea and their co-operated with gardai.