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'Poorly planned' Robber who told staff his family were kidnapped while he was raiding shops is jailed

Matthew Curry (30) apologised for robbing one shop claiming drug dealers were going to kill his brother

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A robber who told staff in the shops he was holding up that members of his family had been kidnapped or were in danger from drug dealers has been jailed.

Matthew Curry (30) apologised for robbing one shop claiming drug dealers were going to kill his brother. Minutes earlier during another robbery he claimed his mother had been kidnapped.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Curry was battling with drug addiction at the time.

Curry pleaded guilty to two robberies at Off Beat Donuts and Marks Models, both in Dublin 2 on May 28, 2021. He was on bail for a burglary at Film Ireland, Curve Street, Dublin 4 on March 6, 2021 at the time of the robberies. He has 41 previous convictions.

Judge Melanie Greally said no weapons had been used in the robberies which she said were poorly planned and executed. She noted there had been no lasting implications for any of the victims and it seems Curry was not a particularly menacing robber and had left a trail of evidence in his wake.

She said Curry had battled with addiction since his early teens, at times progressing well before relapsing. She said these offences had been committed in pursuit of money to support his addiction.

She took into account that he is making genuine efforts to address his addiction and engage with services. She noted his desire to become a productive member of the community.

Judge Greally imposed consecutive sentences totalling four years and suspended the final 15 months.

Garda Jack McGovern told Katherine McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, that Curry entered Off Beat Donuts on Burgh Quay and told the staff member behind the counter “This is a robbery.”

The woman though it was a joke and Curry, who was not wearing any disguise, had to repeat himself. He claimed to have a weapon which the woman did not believe.

She told him to get out or she would call the gardai. He then told her a story about his mother being kidnapped and he needed money to help her. As he tried to enter a staff area, the shop worker called to male colleague and Curry left empty handed.

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A few minutes later Curry “barged into” Mark Model’s, a nearby shop. He told the man behind the counter: “Sorry – this is a robbery.” The worker noticed a lump in Curry’s pocket and felt afraid for his safety.

Curry then described how drug dealers were going to kill his brother and requested €20. The shop worker opened the till and Curry told him “Make it €50,” as he kept talking about his brother.

He also described the earlier incident at the donut shop and said the girls had laughed at him.

He told the man he was only out of prison but didn’t mind going back if he could help his brother.

The shop workers told him he was going to call the gardai and Curry said he would smash up the place and take everything. He then told the man he would return the €50 a few days later and gave him his name.

Another customer came in and the shop assistant told him Curry was robbing him. Curry said he had not and repeatedly said he would return the €50. “I am not a bad guy,” he told the men.

The shop worker told him to leave and that he didn’t want to see him again.

Gardai arrested Curry later that night after he kicked in a door at Leon’s restaurant, Crown Alley, which was closed at the time due to the pandemic. He was spotted cycling near the scene and stopped. He told gardai he had kicked in the door so he would get arrested.

The court also heard details of a burglary committed by Curry at Film Ireland in March 2021. He was caught by gardai after breaking in and causing damage to a door and headphones. All property was recovered.

Gda McGovern agreed with Brian Mulvany BL, defending, that no violence or force was used and the lengthy conversations with the victims were “very unusual.”

Mr Mulvany said his client wishes to wishes to offer apologies to the court, gardai and injured parties and accepts these offences are very serious.

He outlined Curry was in a vicious cycle of engaging well with services but falling at the last hurdle. He said when Curry is released from prison the services are not there for him to some degree and he falls back into his old ways and reoffending,.

Mr Mulvany said Curry was not a criminal mastermind but a person who is in the throes of addiction, losing his battle and needs help. He said Curry is desperate for help to turn his life around.

Counsel asked the court to be as lenient as possible and show light at the end of the tunnel.

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