Man who was ‘off his head on crack’ for 13 robberies is sentenced

Dublin man David Dunne given nine years for thefts committed over three months

A man who claimed he was ‘off my head on crack’ when he carried out 13 robberies  has been given a nine-year sentence. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A man who claimed he was ‘off my head on crack’ when he carried out 13 robberies has been given a nine-year sentence. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

 

A man who claimed he was “off my head on crack” when he carried out 13 robberies over three months has been given a nine-year sentence for the thefts.

David Dunne (35) was ultimately nominated as a suspect after most of the raids were captured on CCTV. While he was being questioned by gardaí in relation to the final robbery, he admitted his motivation behind the crimes was to feed his drug habit.

“That’s not me when I’m like that, I just wanted money for drugs,” Dunne told officers.

He apologised to his victims while being interviewed by gardaí and said that his addiction was out of control.

“It’s more like I’m sick,” he said, before adding that he had sold his car for €300 and the money was spent on drugs within the hour.

Dunne, of Summerhill, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to a total of 13 robberies carried out in various convenience stores, fast food restaurants and petrol stations in Dublin on dates between July 28th and September 5th, 2017.

He has 92 previous convictions, including for robbery, burglary, hijacking, aggravated burglary, theft, possession of firearms, assault and handling stolen property.

Judge Elma Sheahan said she was mindful of the fact that there were 13 victims involved and each of the offences were individually very serious.

She noted Dunne had expressed a wish to rehabilitate himself and said it was in the interest of society that he become drug-free as he had previously managed to do in the past.

Ms Justice Sheahan imposed consecutive sentences totalling nine years and suspended the final year on strict conditions including engaging in victim-focused work and attending residential drug treatment if directed.

Garda Mark McDaid had told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that during each of the raids staff were threatened with a knife before Dunne either took cash from the till or took the till itself. He robbed more than €2,640 in cash and cigarettes in total.

Dunne had an accomplice with him on some occasions and during one of these raids his fellow robber locked Dunne into the targeted shop after he fled the scene. Dunne had to smash a window to make his escape.

Home search

Mr McDaid said Dunne’s home was searched after he was identified from various pieces of CCTV footage, during which some items of clothing that had been worn during some of the robberies was seized.

He was interviewed by gardaí on September 6th, 2017, after he was brought to Store Street station having carried out the final robbery the previous day. He made admissions and co-operated with the investigation.

Mr McDaid agreed with Michael Hourigan BL, defending, that Dunne had “an all-consuming addiction to crack cocaine and heroin” at the time but he now “physically appears” very different to the man he had been at the time of his arrest.

He accepted that Dunne claimed he never intended to use the knives but that he had them with him to open the tills and “create fear”.

Mr McDaid agreed that Dunne had told officers he was not proud of what he had done and accepted that his victims would have been in fear.

Dunne had told officers after being identified on CCTV following the final robbery that he had been “off my head on crack”.

Mr Hourigan told Ms Justice Sheahan that a detailed probation report before the court “outlined a number of issues throughout Dunne’s youth”.

He said Dunne was first detained at a juvenile detention centre at the age of 10 and he had since been “less than two years at liberty”.

“He found himself somewhat institutionalised without supports and fell into drugs use,” Mr Hourigan said.