Two men have been sentenced for their role in the mugging of a 73-year-old woman who had just won €23,000 in a city centre casino.
Declan Connolly (36) who was the getaway driver, was sentenced to five years in prison with the final two and half years suspended, while Brian English (27), who monitored the activities of the woman in the casino, was given a three year suspended sentence.
Connolly of Coultry Drive, Santry Avenue, Dublin 9, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of the woman outside her home in Templeogue on October 7th 2016. He has 11 previous convictions for minor offences which were dealt with in the District Court.
English of Chancery Hall, North King Street, Dublin, pleaded guilty to stealing the €23,000 from the woman after gardaí were satisfied that he acted as “a spotter” that evening and passed on information in relation to the victim. He has no previous convictions.
The man who actually mugged the victim as she was collecting post from the postbox outside her home has yet to be brought before the courts.
Detective Garda Peter Lyons said gardaí viewed a large amount of CCTV footage from the area and believed that the getaway vehicle had been fitted with false registration plates. They were then able to determine the true details of the car which had been registered to Connolly.
Connolly’s home was searched, his mobile phone was seized and analysed and he was arrested. He made no admissions during garda interview.
Det Gda Lyons said CCTV footage from The Fitzwilliam Casino and Card Club, where the woman had successfully won the cash playing roulette, showed English monitoring her activities. A warrant was secured to search his home and a mobile phone was taken for analysis.
The analysis showed communication between the phones up to the time the woman left the casino and CCTV footage also showed English approaching Connolly’s car at one point.
Det Gda Lyons said the woman was dragged down an embankment during the mugging and was left with severe bruising and cuts.
Judge Martin Nolan said the woman won €23,000, “the situation was noticed and people decided to rob her”.
He said the woman was followed to her home and Connolly knew that when the third man left his car, that the man’s ambition was to rob the victim.
Judge Nolan accepted that English was spotted watching the victim and he was linked back to the crime because of the communication between the phones.
He accepted that Connolly had expressed genuine remorse but said it was a serious crime and a planned out robbery during which violence was used and a substantial amount of money was taken.
Judge Nolan said Connolly played a vital role and “knew what was going to happen” before he suspended the final two and half years of a five year sentence.
Judge Nolan on Wednesday remanded English in custody overnight prior to sentencing to consider his case.
Judge Nolan on Thursday noted that in relation to English a plea had been accepted to theft and therefore English was not accountable for what happened during the robbery.
He said English’s participation in the offence was “giving certain information to certain people.”
In mitigation he noted English’s guilty plea, co-operation, lack of previous convictions and likelihood to reform. He imposed a three year suspended sentence and ordered that €6,500 brought to court by English be handed over to garda for transmission to the injured party.