‘Decent bloke’ robbed McDonald’s outlet after threat on his life, court told

Glen Carolan (21) from Ballymun says he owed thousands due to drug, gambling issues

A first time offender who claimed he was foced to rob a McDonald’s restaurant ‘or be killed’ has received a suspended jail sentence. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg.

A first time offender who claimed he was foced to rob a McDonald’s restaurant ‘or be killed’ has received a suspended jail sentence. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg.

 

A first time offender who claimed he was foced to rob a McDonald’s restaurant “or be killed” has received a suspended jail sentence.

Glen Carolan (21) accepted he had robbed the restaurant while armed with a knife that he used to threaten staff but said he was not involved in the planning of the robbery.

“I owe thousands. It was that or I was told they would smash my house up,” Carolan said, referring to the fact that he had run up a debt from his drug addiction and from gambling. He apologised to gardaí­ and acknowledged that the staff would have been terrified.

“I’m sorry to the man, the staff. It was ‘a do or die’ situation. I am a decent bloke,” he said.

Carolan, of Cairn Court, Poppintree, Ballymun, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the robbery of €513 from McDonald’s at Gullivers Retail Park, Santry, on May 1st, 2018.

Judge Melanie Greally suspended a five year prison sentence for five years on condition that Carolan engage with the Probation Service for 12 months in relation to addiction services and drug screening.

Balaclava

Garda Francis Chaney told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, that staff at McDonald’s said Carolan came into the restaurant with his face covered in a balaclava and wearing blue latex gloves. He pointed the knife and demanded money before placing a till drawer full of cash and coins in a plastic shopping bag.

A customer saw Carolan flee on a push bike and was able to tell gardaí­what direction he went in. The bike was found following a short search of the local area. Carolan was found some time later hiding in nearby shrubbery.

Garda Chaney said Carolan became upset and said he was forced to do the robbery or he would be killed. He claimed he handed over the cash, along with some clothes he had been wearing and the knife, to those who instructed him to carry out the raid.

Garda Chaney agreed with Karl Monahan BL, defending, that when asked to give the names of those involved, Carolan said he would like to help “but it would come back on me”.

Mr Monahan said his client started abusing drugs at a young age and got into debt. He was told that if he did not pay the debts, his family home would be “smashed up”. He acknowledged that a previously ordered probation report was “mixed” and indicated that Carolan had co-operated with the service and then had not engaged, but counsel said he was now “anxious to work with them”.

Judge Greally said it was “an unusual enough case” given Carolan’s lack of previous convictions. She said he had “entered criminal offending at a very high level, using a knife to threaten people while in disguise”. She told Carolan she was giving him a chance mainly because of his lack of any previous offending.