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Dublin: 17 °C Thursday 21 June, 2018
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Getaway driver sentenced after two off-duty gardaí caught him during a service station robbery

Robert Patchell has been given a three-year suspended sentence.

Image: Shutterstock/Billion Photos

A KILDARE GETAWAY driver who was caught after two off-duty gardaí intervened in a service station robbery has been given a three-year suspended sentence.

The court heard Robert Patchell (37) remained in the car as two co-accused entered the store armed with knives. The off-duty gardaí spotted what was going on and restrained the robbers.

Patchell, of Corbally Court, Naas, Kildare, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the robbery of cash and a till at Topaz service station, Naas Road, Rathcoole on 22 June 2016.

Garda Goretti Lynch told Sinead McMullen BL, prosecuting, that two off-duty gardaí were using the petrol station when they saw two males exiting the store with their faces covered and knives in their hands. They were carrying a till.

Sergeant Wendy Byrne made a 999 call while garda Stephen Byrne took the keys from Patchell’s vehicle. One of the robbers was restrained in the passenger seat and Patchell remained in the driver seat. A third man escaped.

The gardaí were threatened by Patchell’s accomplice that they would be stabbed and garda Stephen Byrne received a wound to his forearm from one of the co-accused.

Garda Lynch agreed with Eoin Hardiman BL, defending, that Patchell had remained in the car and been quickly subdued. She agreed that Patchell admitted being a getaway driver.

Patchell told gardaí he had financial difficulties and a problem with drugs at the time.

Judge Melanie Greally had put Patchell on a six-month probation bond following an earlier hearing and today noted he had made extremely positive efforts as outlined in a probation report before the court.

Hardiman told the court Patchell was on methadone and his most recent drug test was clean.

Judge Greally noted it was a very serious incident. She said Patchell had been the driver and was accompanied by two others, who were the prime movers. She said the injury inflicted during the incident was not due to any act on Patchell’s part.

She said taking into account the considerable steps he had taken, she was going to impose a three-year suspended sentence.

Read: Mother and son awarded €20,000 after ‘explosion of raw sewage’ in bathroom

More: Bowe Bergdahl receives dishonourable discharge, avoiding prison time after deserting US army post

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Fiona Ferguson

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