Suspended sentence for man who threatened staff with toilet brush handle

by Gazette Reporter

A man who threatened the staff of a bookmakers with a toilet brush handle during a robbery has received a fully suspended sentence.

Thomas Griffin (47) was a “regular” of the bookmakers and had purchased chips for a woman working there on the same day as the robbery.

Griffin of Ross Road, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery at BoyleSports, Dame Street, Dublin 2, on July 15, 2018. He has eight previous convictions, including a conviction for the possession of drugs for sale or supply.

Garda Grace Finnegan told Joseph Barnes BL, prosecuting, that the accused had followed a woman through a staff door in the bookmakers just before closing time and demanded money from another woman who was behind the till.

Gda Finnegan said Griffin was given a tray of notes and a bag of coins which contained €500 before he left the bookmakers. No one was injured during the robbery and Griffin was identified on CCTV.

In interview with gardaí, Griffin said he had been having serious issues with gambling and the offence was committed in the spur of the moment. He said he got the toilet brush handle that he used to threaten the staff from a toilet in the bookmakers.

The court heard Griffin was well known to staff and had been sitting at one of the machines in the bookmakers for the whole day, at one point leaving to purchase chips.

Gda Finnegan agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending, that his client had given chips to a woman working in the bookmakers on the date of the robbery. She agreed his client was a “regular” at the bookmakers and apologised to the victims during his interview with gardaí.

The garda agreed Griffin said he thought he had left the toilet brush handle in a taxi.

Judge Elma Sheahan said the court was aware that the fact Griffin was familiar with the victims in this case suggested he was “not in his right mind” when he committed the robbery. She said the Probation Service was impressed with his efforts to desist from gambling.

Judge Sheahan sentenced Griffin to two years imprisonment, but suspended the entirety of the sentence for three years on strict conditions, including that he follow all directions of the Probation Service for 18 months.

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