Robber who jumped into river to evade gardaí loses appeal

James Barry (34) jailed over knife raid at a McDonald’s on Lower Rathmines Road

When gardaí  caught up with James Barry he was submerged in the River Dodder. Photograph: Eric Luke

When gardaí caught up with James Barry he was submerged in the River Dodder. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

A robber who jumped into a river thinking the water would conceal his body temperature from Garda helicopters - even though there was no air pursuit taking place at the time - has lost a sentence appeal.

James Barry (34), of Goatstown Close, Goatstown, in Dublin, robbed the McDonald’s on Lower Rathmines Road and held a knife to a female cashier’s stomach in front of customers and children before fleeing with €330 in cash.

When gardaí­ caught up with him, he was submerged in the River Dodder.

Garda Brian McLoughlin told prosecuting lawyers that Barry was operating under the delusion the water would ensure his body temperature would not be picked up by any pursuing Garda helicopter. There was no air pursuit taking place at the time.

Barry pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbing the outlet on February 2nd, 2016. He also pleaded guilty to robbing €460 cash from a chemist in Camden Street on March 5th, 2015.

He was jailed for four-and-a-half years by Judge Melanie Greally on July 5th, 2017. He received consecutive sentences because the McDonald’s robbery was committed while on bail.

Upholding his sentence ton Tuesday, President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham said the two robberies were serious offences by any standard, committed by someone with a previous conviction for attempted robbery and possession of a syringe.

Aggressive demands

Mr Justice Birmingham said Barry had disguised himself by wearing glasses and a scarf before he entered the McDonald’s and held a knife to the female cashier’s rib area. She opened four tills and Barry made aggressive demands for the money to be handed over.

He fled with the cash and got into a taxi. However, when the taxi-driver was phoned by gardaí­ who were pursuing him, Barry asked him to stop and he ran into the nearby Dodder Park.

When interviewed, he was contrite and told gardaí­: “I’m a horrible bastard when I want to be.”

He said he used to bring his children to McDonald’s and that he believed he carried out the offence as a “cry for help”.

Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice John Edwards and Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy, said the court could not identify any error in principle and the appeal was therefore dismissed.

Barry had five previous convictions, including one for attempted robbery and possession of a syringe.

His barrister, Katherine McGillicuddy BL, said her client had long-standing drug addiction problems. She said he had a troubled childhood and his education lacked continuity as a result of being moved around constantly.

She said Barry previously worked as a chef and a painter and has a number of children. He is the primary carer of his youngest child, a five-year-old boy, who unfortunately lost the sight in one eye due to a tumour.

“He is very deeply remorseful and deeply sorry for the trauma he put (the woman) through that day,” Ms McGillicuddy said.