‘Incompetent’ thief who pulled hood down during robbery jailed

Attempted theft from Dublin bookmaker ‘a particularly poorly executed criminal enterprise’

The judge said it seemed unlikely that a man behaving in such a way could acquire a real firearm. File photograph: Collins Courts

The judge said it seemed unlikely that a man behaving in such a way could acquire a real firearm. File photograph: Collins Courts

 

A judge has said that a firearm used during a failed robbery was likely an imitation given the “sheer incompetence” displayed by the raider.

Dubliner Derek Ennis (41) pulled his hood down when asked by an employee of a bookmaker just before an attempted robbery in which he failed to steal any money and was “easily identifiable” on CCTV footage as a result.

Ennis of Strandmill Road, Portmarnock, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempted robbery at Paddy Power, Seafort Avenue, Sandymount, south Dublin on February 26th, 2020.

He has six previous convictions for robbery. His other previous convictions include theft, assault causing harm, endangerment, production of an article capable of inflicting injury in the course of a dispute and possession of drugs for sale or supply.

Passing sentence, Judge Martin Nolan said if he were pushed to come to a conclusion, he would say the firearm was an imitation “due to the sheer incompetence of the crime”.

The judge said it seemed unlikely that a man behaving in such a way could acquire a real firearm before he sentenced Ennis to 4½ years’ imprisonment.

Detective Garda Shane Cahill told Sinéad McMullan, prosecuting, that Ennis entered the bookmakers with his hood up, but took his hood down when he was asked to do so by an employee.

Det Garda Cahill said Ennis approached the employee, who was standing behind a counter, and pointed a gun at him. He said it was not clear whether the gun was real or an imitation.

The employee fled and managed to hide, pushing a panic button which alerted gardaí. When he emerged from hiding five minutes later the accused was gone.

Det Garda Cahill agreed with Emmet Nolan, defending, that this was “a particularly poorly executed criminal enterprise”. He agreed that nothing was taken and Ennis was “easily identifiable” on the CCTV footage.

Mr Nolan said this was “a completely incompetent act” and that it was “difficult to conceive” how his client would not be caught. He said his client had a life-long addiction to drugs and that he needed money to feed his habit on the date in question.

Counsel said his client was released from custody in 2017 having served a lengthy sentence and worked as a landscape gardener until injuring his back. He said his client had witnessed a friend of his being beaten to death.