Teenager armed with knife mugged four women in Tallaght area in 90-minute spree
A Dublin teenager who mugged four women in 90 minutes, having threatened the victims with a large knife, has been given four-and-a-half years detention.
The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, later told gardai on his arrest: "I went on the drink and went on the rob this morning".
The spate of muggings came to an end when a man driving by stopped his car to help a girl who had just had her phone robbed. He held onto the accused until gardai arrived and arrested him.
The boy later admitted to gardai that he had produced a knife and was out of it on "e and coke". He said he needed the drugs to "be brave enough" to carry out the robberies.
He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to false imprisonment and four charges of robbery in the Tallaght area on November 15, 2015.
The boy has 29 previous convictions but this was his first violent offence, the court heard.
Judge Martin Nolan said the teenager had produced a garden saw and terrified these ladies who were going about their day to day business.
"These ladies saw a formidable presence with a big knife," he said.
He accepted that he didn't get any form of good parenting and had involved himself in crime over a few years.
The judge said it was worrying that the teenager seemed to now becoming more involved in serious violent crime.
He sentenced him to four-and-a-half years detention but suspended the final two years on condition that he engage with the Probation Service for two years upon his release.
Judge Nolan said the teenager should take every educational opportunity given to him while in custody.
Cathal McGreal BL, defending, told Judge Nolan that his client was borderline intellectually disabled.
He said a psychologist report concluded that he suffered dysfunction from day one. He had been living with his father in Poland but came to Ireland to live with his mother because his father was an alcoholic.
Counsel said the boy was then subjected to physical abuse from his step-father to such an extent that staff at the school he had been attending intervened. He was put into foster care and left school at 14 when his criminality began.
Mr McGreal said his client was "a badly damaged child" but reports before the court suggested that he was not a high risk to others.
Garda Peter Ennis told Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting that the teenager and an accomplice approached the first victim at about 8.45 that morning and pushed her to the ground. The accused lifted up his top and revealed the saw.
The pair demanded cash off the woman but when they discovered she had none, they forced her to walk to a nearby ATM in The Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght, where she withdrew €50.
Gda Ennis told Judge Nolan that the woman, who was in her twenties, had been in the company of the accused and his accomplice for about 15 minutes.
He said that the next victim was waiting at a bus stop outside The Square when the accused threatened to kill her if she didn't give him her money and "everything from your bag". He and his accomplice then took her phone and bank cards but when she said she was too in shock to remember her PIN they returned them to her.
At 9.10am the next victim, an older woman in her 50s, was near a bus stop in Tallaght when the teenagers approached her and tried to grab her handbag. The accused produced a knife and stood very close to the woman while the other youth went through her bag and asked for her bank card.
She said she didn't own a bank account and they took €20 from her.
Gda Ennis said in the final incident the accused sat beside a girl who was sitting at a bus stop before grabbing her mobile and running off with it. The victim chased the teenager and shouted for help.