Man jailed after attempting to hold up building society at gunpoint

by Gazette Reporter
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A robber who was tackled by a teller as he tried to hold up a building society at gunpoint went on to rob over €10,000 from another branch 15 minutes later, a court has heard.

Desmond Murphy (49) was given “tiger money” by the staff member where the serial numbers had been recorded, numbers which were later found on money recovered from his home.

A CCTV still from the robbery also captured a swallow tattoo on Murphy’s hand.

Murphy, who has 51 previous convictions, has attended a drug rehabilitation course since his arrest and his lawyers told Judge Martin Nolan that he has turned his life around.

Murphy, of Marewood Crescent, Ballymun, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempted robbery and robbery at two south Dublin building societies on February 15, 2018.

In sentencing, Judge Nolan noted the gun was more than likely an imitation firearm but said to point it at individuals during a robbery was very serious. He noted in mitigation that Murphy had made great steps to reform himself and imposed an 18 months sentence.

Garda Stephen Dunican told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, that a teller at EBS, Main Street Blackrock was alone when he saw a male approach the counter and put a gun through the hatch.

The staff member, who feared for his life, said the gun was about one foot away and pointed at his head. Murphy banged on the counter with his other hand and demanded he open the till.

The teller opened the door to the staff only area and as Murphy pointed the gun into his side he made a split second decision to push Murphy back into the public area. He managed to push him outside and locked the door.

He said Murphy turned around and held the gun in both hands as he took shelter. Murphy shouted that he would be back.

Gda Dunican said 15 minutes later Murphy pointed a gun through the hatch at female staff member in EBS, Georges Street Dun Laoghaire. The teller handed him “tiger money”, where the serial numbers had been recorded, which was to be handed out in such circumstances.

He said that a total of €10,380 was taken.

Garda recovered CCTV footage and a vehicle of interest was traced to near Murphy’s residence. A swallow tattoo known to be on Murphy’s left hand was also seen on the CCTV.

Garda searched Murphy’s home and recovered €8,320 from his hot press some of which matched the “tiger money” serial numbers.

Gda Dunican agreed with Fiona Murphy SC, defending, that Murphy has attended a drug rehabilitation centre and now appeared to have turned his life around.

The garda agreed Murphy appeared a lot healthier and seemed to be a totally different person to the one who had committed the offences.

He agreed Murphy’s heroin addiction had been the catalyst for his offending.

Ms Murphy handed in a letter from her client which she said set out his shame and remorse. She said he had a “sad and tragic history” which led to using drugs and being homeless.

She said on his arrest he had gone into custody for one year before “grabbing” the chance to go to Tiglin when it came up. She said he had done remarkably well and turned his life around.

Ms Murphy said he had done a huge amount of work. She asked the court to allow him to complete his current course and consider a non-custodial option where he has to work to pay his debt.

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