Jailed for robbing handbags from two elderly women

by Gazette Reporter
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By David O’Sullivan

A man who robbed two women in their 80s of their handbags in two days has been jailed for four and a half years.

Darren Martin (48), of Bride Road, Dublin 8, appeared before Judge Elma Sheahan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last weekafter pleading guilty to two counts of robbing elderly women of their handbags in March 2022.

Garda Shane Monaghan told the court Martin robbed the first woman on Long Lane Close, Dublin 8 on 28 March 2022.

The woman, who is now aged 88, was walking home from a pharmacy when she noticed an agitated man walking up and down the street.

The man came up behind her, pulled up her hood and pulled its strings so she couldn’t see. He then ran away with her walking stick and handbag, containing €30, her PPS card and her house-keys.

The woman walked to a neighbour’s house and called gardaí. CCTV was obtained from a local apartment complex and Martin was identified.

The woman told the gardaí the incident left her shaken, nervous and afraid to be alone. She was too uncomfortable to stay in her house that night and had to have the locks changed.

The court then heard that Martin robbed another elderly woman of her handbag the following day.

The woman, who is now aged 81, was walking home from grocery shopping along the O’ Curry Road in Dublin 8.

Martin approached her and grabbed her arm while pulling at her handbag. The woman put up a struggle because she had just bought a white-gold diamond bracelet worth €200 from a local jeweller.

As Martin pulled at her bag, the woman fell to the ground. The court heard she was upset, shaken and had a large bruise on the arm Martin grabbed.

Gardaí were called and Martin was again identified using CCTV footage. A warrant was issued to search his house, where clothing was found matching what was worn in the robberies.

No victim impact statement was handed in to the court by either women.

Martin has eight previous convictions for robbery, theft, public order and larceny. He was previously imprisoned for a robbery in 1998 and was released in 2002.

His family wrote a letter to the court. In it, they addressed the women Martin robbed. They said: “We are disgusted by what Darren has done to you and as a family we are very sorry.”

They said: “We can only now hope as a family that his time in prison will be something of an eye opener.”

Olan Callanan BL, defending, described the robberies as “low” and “cowardly” and said they were “appalling offences against vulnerable and elderly ladies.”

He stated Martin has a “significant psychiatric history” and that “prison will be difficult for him.”

Mr Callanan said Martin had a “life taken apart by drugs” but was not a prolific offender.

In sentencing, Judge Sheahan said Martin’s actions were “unacceptable and must be deplored” and that he robbed the women not only of their property, “but also their peace of mind.”

She said the aggravating factors were the seriousness of the crimes, the fact Martin had similar previous convictions and that he was targeting elderly women.

She said the mitigating factors were that Martin pleaded guilty, struggled with drug addiction from a young age and that his mental health issues will make his time in custody difficult.

Judge Sheahan handed down a sentence of five years imprisonment, with the final six months suspended on strict conditions.

Martin was given 11 months credit for time already spent in custody.

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