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Woman who robbed taxi driver caught after leaving social welfare card behind

The robbery occurred outside Swords Garda Station in north county Dublin
The robbery occurred outside Swords Garda Station in north county Dublin

A woman who robbed a taxi driver outside a garda station but left her wallet and social welfare card behind has been given a two and half year suspended sentence.

Claire Lawlor (26) of Abbeylea Drive, Swords, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery in Swords on May 01, 2012. Her 55 previous convictions include robbery, theft, burglary, assault causing harm, road traffic and making off without paying.

David Staunton BL, defending said Lawlor becoming pregnant with her second child was “the catalyst” that prompted her rehabilitation. She was a heroin addiction for a number of years but was now drug free.

Counsel told Judge Martin Nolan that his client has progressed to such an extent that her clinic put her forward for a RTE documentary about coming off drugs during pregnancy.

Garda Elaine Duffy told Fergal Foley BL, prosecuting that the taxi driver picked up Lawlor and her co-accused in Blanchardstown and was directed to go to Swords.

He was asked to stop at an ATM en-route so they could get cash for the fare but when Lawlor came out of the shop with food, he became suspicious that he wasn't going to get paid.

Lawlor pretended to ring her mother to ask her to have the €35 fare ready but when the driver asked for the phone to prove she had made the call a struggle broke out.

The driver drove to Swords Garda Station and stopped his car on the street just outside the station. A struggle broke out and Lawlor's male accomplice punched and kicked the man and held him around the neck.

The couple fled the scene after taking the taxi driver's keys from the ignition and his phone.

Gda Duffy told Mr Foley that Lawlor's co-accused has denied the charge and is due for trial next June.

Lawlor was nominated as a suspect after her wallet, containing her social welfare card was found on the back seat of the taxi. She was later questioned at Swords Garda Station and made full admissions.

Judge Nolan said that great emphasises had been placed on Lawlor's rehabilitation but he noted from her previous convictions that she has been given “many chances” in the past which he said she had abused.

“She has asked for a last chance,” Judge Nolan said before he added that with “great hesitancy” he was going to give her that chance. He sentenced Lawlor to two and half years in prison which he suspended in full.