By Brion Hoban
A man who was on bail when he took part in a robbery that resulted in the death of a woman during the getaway has been jailed for four years and three months.
Jacqueline McGovern (54) was one of two women who were struck by a car occupied by three men fleeing from the robbery of a Centra shop on Barnhill rd., Dalkey on March 10 last (2020).
Ms McGovern died as a result of injuries sustained during the collision. One of the men who had held up the shop, Dubliner Terry Meegan Jr (27), was on bail for attacking a man in his own apartment at the time of the robbery.
Meegan of Loughlinstown Woods, Loughlinstown pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery on March 10, 2020.
He also pleaded guilty to trespass, criminal damage and assault at Ridgehall Apartments, Ballybrack, on December 26, 2019. He has 34 previous convictions, including convictions for possession of firearms, possession of drugs and road traffic offences.
Detective Garda Deirdre Finn told Ger Small BL, prosecuting, that on the date in March 2020, Meegan and Edward Andrews (26) of Bellarmine Hall, Stepaside, Dublin entered the shop in Dalkey.
Andrews made threats and the men stole over €800 from tills in the shop.
Det Gda Finn said the two men then fled the shop and got into a car driven by Darren Rowe (35) of Dunedin Terrace, Monkstown, Dublin. Rowe “drove in a dangerous manner” away from the shop, mounted a pavement and hit two ladies who were out walking.
Ms McGovern was thrown up onto the bonnet of the car and was carried for several metres, later dying of the injuries she sustained. Her companion Audrey Began was also injured as a consequence of the collision.
The car was abandoned in the middle of the road and the three raiders fled the scene. Meegan later called into a home and asked the people there to burn his clothes.
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CCTV footage obtained by gardaí showed the three men drinking in a pub prior to the robbery.
Andrews received a sentence of three years and three months imprisonment for his role in the robbery at a sentence hearing in December 2020. Rowe was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years imprisonment for the offence of dangerous driving causing death.
Det Gda Finn agreed with Seoirse O’Dunlaing BL, defending, that this was “a shocking incident from start to finish”. She agreed his client was sitting in the back seat of the car.
Mr O’Dunlaing said his client was granted bail to undergo residential treatment for his drug addiction which he completed. He said his client was awaiting to attend a further six months of residential treatment and asked that he be given an opportunity to finish this treatment.
Judge Martin Nolan said there was mitigation in this case by way of the guilty plea, remorse and the steps taken by the accused to reform himself. Judge Nolan said these were two serious crimes and that in this case “punishment must take priority over rehabilitation”.
He sentenced Meegan to two years and three months imprisonment for the robbery. He said he took into account the time that he had already served in custody when deciding on the sentence.
Judge Nolan also sentenced him to two years imprisonment for the earlier offence and ordered that both sentences run consecutive to each other, resulting in an operating sentence of four years and three months imprisonment.
Garda Aisling Healy told Ms Small that on the date in December 2019, Aidan Byrne was in his apartment where he lives with his family when Meegan called to the door. Mr Byrne had known the accused for ten years prior to the incident.
Gda Healy said Meegan spent ten minutes in the apartment before leaving. He returned approximately an hour later with another man and was on this occasion denied entry by Mr Byrne.
Later that evening, the front door of the apartment “exploded”. Mr Byrne rushed from his bedroom and saw Meegan standing in the doorway holding a puppy.
Meegan put the puppy down and struck Mr Byrne twice in the face. The accused asked the victim’s brother-in-law, who he was on the phone with, what to do next and was told to punch him in the face, which he did.
Mr Byrne escaped from the apartment and contacted gardaí, who soon arrived and arrested Meegan. After being placed in a squad car, Meegan kicked off the head-rest of the passenger seat.
Gda Healy agreed with Mr O’Dunlaing that the offences arose from an incident that happened a long time ago between the victim and his wife.
Mr O’Dunlaing said his client was directed to do things by the victim’s brother-in-law “out of a sense of vigilantism”.