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Man jailed after credit union staff member recognised him during robbery

He was on bail at the time and has 87 previous convictions including 13 for robbery.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

A HEROIN ADDICT who robbed his local credit union by threatening to set staff staff on fire has been jailed for five years.

Gary Gregg (28) grabbed a supervisor by the neck and told her he was pouring fuel over her to set her on fire.

The woman tasted what she believed was either perfume or petrol in her mouth when Gregg poured liquid out of a canister over the top of her head. He held a lighter in his hand and shouted “Give me the money. I’ve a lighter here and fuel and I am going to set you on fire”.

Gregg of Ashlawn Park, Ballybrack, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery and making a threat to kill at Core Credit Union, Ballybrack on 16 January, 2016. He was on bail at the time and has 87 previous convictions including 13 for robbery.

Garda Declan Hartley told Eilis Brennan BL, prosecuting, that the woman recognised Gregg immediately, even though he was wearing a balaclava.

She knew him since he was a baby and was acquainted with his family and grandparents. He had applied for a loan in the credit union six months previously and had been unsuccessful.

She said she couldn’t believe it when she felt the liquid on her head. She knew Gregg was desperate for money and that he was prepared to use her as a tool to get it. She said she knew she had to get away from him and was absolutely terrified.

The robbery lasted 41 seconds during which time Gregg also threw fluid over the counter and ordered two other staff members to hand over cash before robbing €12, 241.

The supervisor who he had grabbed and prevented from getting into a back office, managed to duck under him and escape through the front door to raise the alarm.

Terrified

A woman who had been in the credit union with her two young children, ran out of the building as soon as Gregg started threatening staff.

Judge Melanie Greally said this was an extremely frightening experience. The women said they were terrified during the robbery.

She suspended the last two years of a seven year sentence on condition that he engage with the Probation Service on victim focused work and addiction treatment services.

Seoirse Ó Dúlaing BL, defending, told Judge Greally that his client wished to apologise to the staff in the credit union for the terrifying ordeal.

He said when his client was 12 years old, his biological father approached him in a take-away and told him that his mother had committed suicide while serving a prison sentence.

Gregg, who had been brought up by his grandparents had never been told how his mother died and had not known his father before this.

He was unable to deal with the situation and resorted to taking drugs before he began committing crime.

About the author:

Sonya McClean

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