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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020

Drug addict went “off the wall” robbing shops two weeks after release from prison

Laurence Bryan was drug-free on his release from prison but relapsed following a family argument.

Image: PA Archive/PA Images

A DRUG ADDICT who relapsed two weeks after his release from a four-year prison sentence went “off the wall” robbing shops over nine days in order to fund his habit, a court has heard.

Laurence Bryan (36) was drug-free on his release from prison but relapsed following a family argument and robbed multiple shops at knifepoint in order to get money.

He told gardaí after his arrest he had been taking as much heroin and crack cocaine as he could get his hands on. He said he didn’t intend to hurt anyone but needed the money for drugs.

Bryan, of Brookview Crescent, Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four robberies and two attempted robberies at shops in the Tallaght area between 31 March and 8 April 2016.

Bryan has 132 previous convictions including a five-and-a-half-year sentence with the final 18 months suspended imposed by Judge Mary Ellen Ring in 2014 for previous robberies.

During that sentence hearing the court heard Bryan had committed nine robberies in seven days in 2013 and had been spending €450 per day to feed his crack cocaine habit.

Yesterday Judge Melanie Greally revoked the 18-month suspended portion of the previous sentence and adjourned sentencing on the new offences until October 2018. She ordered an updated probation report dealing with the residential treatment options available to him.

She told Bryan that she was not making any promises but it appeared that four years in prison had not served him or the community well.

“You were back to square one within a number of weeks,” Judge Greally said “so it is clear some alternative to a sentence, even with a suspended period, will be needed to break the cycle”.

Sarah Jane O’Callaghan BL, defending, said her client had been in a “protective environment” while in prison and had been drug free on his release. She said following a family argument two weeks after his release he had left the house and bought crack cocaine and heroin. She said he had then gone “off the wall”.

She said he had very tragic and difficult personal circumstances including his brother being shot and witnessing his two-year-old sister being run over by a bus when he was ten years old.

Counsel said he had done very well in school before he began dabbling in drugs as a 16-year-old.

O’Callaghan said her client would need multifaceted supports in place on release to avoid him falling into drug use again. She said he had insight into how his victims felt and the carnage he was causing.

Comments have been disabled as a person is awaiting sentencing

Read: Girl feared she’d be raped after two 17-year-olds bundled her into car

Read: ‘She died alone and unaided’: Woman jailed for killing her cousin

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Fiona Ferguson

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