By Declan Brennan
An armed post officer raider who was left behind at the scene when his two accomplices fled has being jailed for five years.
Keith Deegan (33) had armed himself with a tow bar which he wrapped in a towel before he and two others entered the shop in Kilbarrack, north Dublin.
The masked men began smashing the glass screen separating the staff from customers in order to get access to the cash.
One witness, a customer in the shop, said he decided against tackling Deegan because he thought what he was holding could be a gun.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that two female staff members began screaming and then crawled across a broken glass strewn floor in order to get away from the robbers and to the safety of the back office.
When the post master came out to the front he saw that security staff were holding down one man who also had a bag of cash. Garda David Heraghty told the court this was Deegan, with an address of Buttercup Green, Darndale.
He said that a total of €12,160 was taken by the raiders. Deegan was found with €6,463 but the two other men made off with just under €6,000, which has never been recovered
Two other men were subsequently arrested and a file is currently with the DPP.
Deegan pleaded guilty to robbery and false imprisonment at Kilbarrack post office on October 24, 2019. He also admitted criminal damage of the security glass and allowing himself to be carried in the stolen car which the raiders used to get to the post office.
His 42 previous convictions include two for robbery and others for drug offences.
Luigi Rea BL, defending, said his client’s long term drug addiction is the source of his offending and “he knows he needs to do something about [it]”.
He said Deegan was “left behind by people who were better friends to each other than they were to him and he was abandoned at the scene”.
Judge Pauline Codd said that Deegan took part in the robbery mindless of the utter destruction it has on people getting on with their daily life.
She set a headline sentence of eight years but reduced it after taking into consideration his guilty pleas, his co-operation with gardai, and his long history of drug addiction.
She also noted that his three young children will be without a father because of his actions. She sentenced him to six years but suspended the final year on condition that he go into residential drug treatment for a year on his release.
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In his victim impact report the post master stated that he is now suspicious of new customers and plans to retire unless he can find a new premises.
The customer stated in his report that he now suffers from his nerves and has changed his post office since the incident. He said he is sometimes afraid to leave the house.
Gda Heraghty agreed with Mr Rea that Deegan was “an absolute gentleman during interview” and made full admissions in relation to his involvement.
He told gardaí that on the way to the robbery he said to the other two men “not to hurt anyone”. He also said that he was brought into the robbery by the other two because of his slight build and his ability to jump the counter.
“His role was to jump the counter, take the money and run, yet they were quite happy to leave him there,” Mr Rea said. He said his client had a chronic addiction to both tablets and cocaine at the time.
He said Deegan is now on methadone.