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late night raid Man jailed over chip shop robbery shooting says 'I'm sorry … they did not deserve any of it'

Anthony Behan was jailed for disposing of the bicycle his brother used to flee the crime scene

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Anthony Behan who was convicted and sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment for impeding the apprehension of his brother, Joseph, who had shot two men during an attempted robbery at Mizzoni's take away in Edenmore, speaks to Patrick O'Connell

Anthony Behan who was convicted and sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment for impeding the apprehension of his brother, Joseph, who had shot two men during an attempted robbery at Mizzoni's take away in Edenmore, speaks to Patrick O'Connell

Anthony Behan who was convicted and sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment for impeding the apprehension of his brother, Joseph, who had shot two men during an attempted robbery at Mizzoni's take away in Edenmore, speaks to Patrick O'Connell

ONE of two brothers jailed over an armed robbery during which two chip shop workers were shot has pleaded for the injured men's forgiveness, saying: "They did not deserve any of this."

Anthony Behan (62) served 22 months in prison for impeding the apprehension of his brother Joseph after his younger sibling shot the workers during a bloody solo heist at Mizzoni's Pizza in the Edenmore Shopping Centre in Dublin.

Workers Ionut Dateu (38) and Vasile Bitica (28) were lucky to escape with their lives after both sustained gunshot wounds during the frenzied late-night-raid.

Joseph Behan was sentenced to 15 years in prison for carrying out the raid on January 1, 2019.

Anthony was prosecuted and jailed because he impeded the apprehension his younger brother in the wake of the robbery by attempting to dispose of a bicycle Joseph had used to flee the crime scene.

But speaking following his release from Mountjoy Prison on Thursday, Anthony claimed he hadn't known his brother had shot the two men when he moved the bike from outside their home.

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Garda crime scene investigators at Mizzoni Pizzas in Edenmore shopping centre where the shooting took place. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM

Garda crime scene investigators at Mizzoni Pizzas in Edenmore shopping centre where the shooting took place. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM

Garda crime scene investigators at Mizzoni Pizzas in Edenmore shopping centre where the shooting took place. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / INM

"I didn't know that [they'd been shot]when I moved it [the bike]," he said.

"And I'm very sorry about what happened to them. They're both good lads, good souls, very good souls they are. I knew them both years.

"I knew Vasile about five years and I know Ionut 10 years and maybe even 15 years. Of course, I'm sorry that this happened to them and I'm very apologetic.

"If there was any chance of reconciling with them, I'd take it.

"They're good lads - they didn't deserve any of it."

Joseph Behan is currently being sued by one of the survivors of the near fatal attack, Vasile Bitica.

Proceedings were issued against gunman Behan (46) and Mizzoni's Pizza and Pasta in the High Court on behalf of Vasile Bitica by RJ Kavanagh solicitors on February 4.

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In an interview given to this newspaper after Joseph Behan was sentenced last year, Vasile revealed how doctors told him the 9mm bullet they took from his body would have killed him had paramedics not arrived on the scene so quickly.

He also told us how, despite suffering daily flashbacks and nightmares in which he relives the horror attack, he felt safe for the first time since the shooting after convicted drug dealer Joseph Behan was given such a lengthy jail term.

"I was happy for the first time in a long time when the judge sentenced him to the 15 years," Vasile told the Sunday World.

"It was the first time I could feel safe … knowing that he is now behind bars.

"The sentence is one that he deserved. I still have a lot of pain in the side where he shot me, and I suffer from flashbacks and nightmares where I relive the shooting.

"I can't work because I get really bad pain if I stay standing for too long at any one time.

"He [Behan] didn't care that night whether he killed us or not. And I still think he doesn't care. When he saw me in court, he was laughing and smiling at me. And never once did he try to apologise.

"I will never forgive him for what he did to me. And the truth is I am lucky to be alive, if the bullet had been a little higher, I would be dead right now."

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Joseph Behan

Joseph Behan

Joseph Behan

Reliving the events inside the takeaway on the night of the shootings, Vasile recalled: "I was working in the kitchen with my back to the door when the shooting started.

"One second everyone was shouting 'whoa, whoa'. And the next second the shooting started."

As Vasile made his way to the counter, he recalls how he felt the sting of the bullets hitting him in his lower stomach.

"I got shot in the side. The doctors told me later I was really lucky with where I was hit. A few inches higher up and he would have hit me in the lung, and I wouldn't have made it."

After Vasile was shot, a co-worker tried to wrestle the weapon from Behan.

"He [the co-worker] threw a bottle of champagne at him and he tried to take the gun off him," Vasile recalled.

"But then he got shot too."

Luckily for both men, paramedics arrived at the scene within 20 minutes and managed to stabilise them before rushing them to hospital.

Passing sentence in April 2020, Judge Nolan said Vasile was grievously injured and but for the early intervention of a paramedic "there is a good likelihood he would have died".

He said the other man sustained a less serious gunshot injury to his lower abdomen.

Judge Nolan said Joseph Behan behaved "in a very reprehensible way on the night in question".

He said he could have killed a number of people, though luckily for those men and for himself he did not.

He said that Anthony Behan disposed of a bike used during the attempted robbery knowing that his brother had been involved in a serious crime.

He said he was not sure whether Anthony Behan even knew his brother had a firearm, but he did know he was going to rob.

After carrying out the shooting, CCTV showed Behan making his way to Edenmore Park, where he stopped and dumped what appeared to be a handgun in a front garden in the estate.

Joseph and Anthony Behan were arrested approximately an hour after the shooting.

Having worn a mask during the attack, Behan continued to deny his involvement up to and during his trial.

But a jury was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt gardaí had arrested the right man.

Well known to local officers in Edenmore, Joseph Behan's most serious previous conviction occurred in 2009 when he was given an 18-month suspended sentence on a charge of possession of drugs for sale and supply.

He was also certified as a drug trafficker in the wake of his conviction and the certificate was passed to the then Garda Drugs Unit.

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