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Man jailed for threatening to 'stick' woman with syringe during robbery at ATM in Dublin

Damien Reilly was sentenced to three years in prison yesterday.

Image: Rollingnews.ie

A MAN WHO threatened to stab a woman with a syringe needle during a robbery has been jailed for three years.

Damien Reilly (36) of Camden Street, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two robberies in the Stoneybatter area on 24 February, 2017 and 7 April, 2017.

Passing sentence yesterday, Judge Pauline Codd condemned the fact that Reilly had targeted two women walking alone on dark evenings and had subjected them to extremely frightening experiences.

She sentenced Reilly to five years in prison and suspended the final two years, giving him credit for his guilty pleas, his apology and a “relatively positive” probation report.

Other mitigating factors included Reilly’s difficult childhood circumstances and his amenability to rehabilitation for his long-standing drug addiction.

Garda Sinead Murphy told Tony McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, that on the April date, a nurse had just entered her PIN into an ATM when Reilly grabbed hold of her.

He said: “Don’t fucking move, don’t fucking scream, I have a needle in my hand”, before he threatened to “stick” the victim with it.

The woman screamed and tried to get away, ending up in a headlock before falling to the ground.

A man passing by ran across the road to help the woman, but Reilly hit him with a bottle before fleeing over a wall where he was later found “cowering” by gardaí.

The woman reported that €200 was stolen from her and was not recovered.

‘Precious images’

Garda Aidan Noonan told the prosecution that several weeks earlier, another woman was returning home after a yoga class when Reilly started running towards her.

Reilly grabbed the strap of her bag and pulled it from her shoulder. The woman was knocked to the ground and banged her head off a wall.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, the woman said the total cost of everything stolen from her was €575.

She said the worst part of the incident was that her phone, containing “precious images” of her daughter, was not recovered.

The court heard that the woman had been anxious and paranoid since the incident and was “constantly checking over her shoulder”.

Reilly has 17 previous convictions, including for offences of robbery, burglary, carrying a firearm with criminal intent and threatening with a syringe.

Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, submitted that his client had a history of drug abuse.

He said that one of the victims was concerned about contracting a disease due to having a mark on her after the robbery and that Reilly tried to give blood samples while in custody to ease her concern, but the medics could not access a vein.

The defence also presented a letter from Fr Peter McVerry saying that Reilly was stable and doing well in his drug rehabilitation.

The judge ordered Reilly to keep the peace and to be of good behaviour for two years on his release, during which time he must undergo supervision by the Probation Services and abide by all directions in relation to drug treatment, training and employment.

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Brion Hoban

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