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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 21 November, 2019

Former chef jailed for five years after three-week crime spree

The man was armed with a syringe and a blade.

A QUALIFIED CHEF who resorted to robbery to get prescription medication to feed his drug addiction has been sentenced to five years for a three-week crime spree.

Desmond Dunne, 39, who is originally from Clondalkin, Dublin but who is living in a hostel on Manor Street in Stoneybatter, was armed with a syringe and a blade during three robberies and one attempted raid.

He made admissions following his arrest. He said in relation to one robbery on South William Street that he was “banged to rights” after viewing CCTV footage of the raid.

“I was desperate for tablets and got a bang for my troubles, then I left,” Dunne told gardaí referring to an altercation between him and a member of a staff.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three robberies, one attempted robbery and criminal damage at various Dublin pharmacies on dates between 26 November and 18 December, 2014. He has 23 previous convictions including four for robbery.

Luigi Rea BL, defending said Dunne began to dabble in cannabis at the age of 15 and was both smoking and injecting heroin by the time he was 18.

He had previously qualified as a chef and had been able to buy drugs with the wages he earned.

Counsel said that Dunne spent time in rehab and was clean for three and half years but he later lost his job, couldn’t afford drugs and began offending.

Mr Rea said Dunne hoped to return to work but acknowledged that it would be very difficult for him now to get a job.

He asked Judge Melanie Greally to accept that Dunne had stopped carrying out robberies and that “he will not trouble the court with this kind of offending again”.

Judge Greally said “It is an all too familiar picture of a very serious and deeply embedded drug addiction. There is no reason whatsoever to doubt that all your actions were motivated by your desire to support that addiction.”

She said the robberies were unpleasant and frightening and that he had committed the offence in the context of a criminal record having served substantial periods of imprisonment.

Judge Greally said there was “no doubt” that Dunne “is capable of conducting himself in a pro-social way and has some talent and skill”.

She suspended the last 18 months of the five year term on strict conditions including that Dunne co-operate with the Probation Service for 18 months and undergo drug treatment.

Read: Sisters awarded €18,000 after being caught up in H&M “robbery simulation” training exercise

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Sonya McClean

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