A man who tried to rob a post office “in a moment of madness” after earlier asking the staff for a bag has been given a two and a half year suspended sentence.
Michael Kelly (55), of no fixed abode, was recognised by one of the staff as a regular customer. He came into the shop, asked for a bag, offered to pay for it and left the premises.
Kelly pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempted robbery at Rush Post Office in Rush on September 24, 2016.
Garda Campbell Brennan said Kelly returned minutes later and held a note against the cashier window ordering them to fill the bag with money or “I will kill you”.
He also instructed that Gardai should not be alerted. The staff member refused and told Kelly “No” on two occasions, warning him she was about to press the panic alarm.
He left empty-handed. The woman later told gardai she was in “disbelief” because she recognised the man at the counter as Kelly.
Gardai arrived and the defendant was identified through CCTV footage. He was arrested about five months later.
In his garda interview Kelly said it was “a moment of madness” while he was drunk. He said he was a recovering alcoholic who had been sober for 10 years before a relapse at the time of the attempted raid.
His seven previous convictions are for minor offences and he had not come to garda attention since 2004.
Judge Martin Nolan heard Kelly had been dealing with “alcohol issues” since he was eight years old. He is now doing charitable work with the Simon Community.
Describing it as a “nasty incident”, Judge Nolan accepted that Kelly had taken steps to rehabilitate.
He said in his view Kelly “doesn’t deserve an immediate custodial sentence” before he suspended a two and a half year jail term.