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Man who held gun to customer's head during post office raid jailed for 12 years

The man was tackled to the ground by a passing ESB repairman during the incident.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

A MAN WHO fired eight shots from a semi-automatic pistol during the robbery of a post office has received a partially suspended sentence.

Glen Kavanagh, 44, held a Makarov pistol to a customer’s head and then leapt over the counter before he was tackled to the ground by a passing ESB repairman.

Counsel for Kavanagh told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today that his client had “no memory” of carrying out the raid as he was “out of control” on drugs at the time.

Kavanagh, of Upper Oriel Street, Dublin 1, pleaded guilty to robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm at Woodbine Park Post Office, Blackrock, on January 19, 2016.

Judge Melanie Greally yesterday said the robbery was aggravated by use of a loaded gun which was held to the head of a customer and discharged during a struggle.

She said the case was also aggravated by Kavanagh having a previous conviction for armed robbery.

 Judge Greally said she gave him credit for his guilty plea, his lengthy addiction history and the effect heroin and crack cocaine have had on his conduct.

She noted he was “directly or indirectly” under the influence of drugs at the time of the offence.

She sentenced Kavanagh to 14 years imprisonment for the robbery offence, but suspended the final two years of the sentence on strict conditions including that he engage with the Probation Service for 18 months post release.

Judge Greally ordered that the sentence will run concurrently with a previously imposed 10-year sentence of imprisonment on the firearms charge and backdated both to January 1, 2018.

At an earlier hearing, Sergeant Trevor Hayes told Fionnuala O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that a woman had been buying a dog licence at the post office at the time of the raid.

The woman later told gardaí that while she was at the counter, a man wearing a white face mask came in with a gun.

He put one hand around her neck and held a gun to her temple with the other hand, saying “give me the money,” the woman reported.

She told gardaí she then heard a number of shots being fired and saw the glass shattering between the counter and the public area, before the raider tried to climb over the counter.

Aggressive struggle

The court heard that an ESB repairman who had been working outside with colleagues had seen a masked man on a bicycle approaching and entering the post office and, thinking it suspicious, followed him in.

 This man told gardaí he saw “legs going over the counter” so he grabbed the raider and pulled him back into the public area, marking the beginning of an “aggressive struggle” between them.

The repairman said he got a fright when he heard a shot go off as he hadn’t realised the raider had a gun.

He said he felt in fear of his life but decided his best option was to continue to try and contain the man.

Both men eventually fell outside the door of the post office and the repairman kicked the raider on the ankle, causing the gun to fly out of his hand and hit an ESB colleague on the head.

This man later required stitches to his head.

The raider made his escape but was later identified on CCTV by gardaí.

There was €455 stolen from the post office during the course of the raid.

Gardaí recovered the 9mm-calibre semi-automatic Makarov pistol and eight discarded cartridges.

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Sergeant Hayes said the gun’s original barrel had been replaced, the serial number deliberately effaced and the muzzle adapted to accommodate a silencer.

Kavanagh’s DNA was found on a SuperValu bag he had been carrying and also in a bloodstain on the street outside.

He has 46 previous convictions, of which 12 are Circuit Court offences.

In 2011 Kavanagh was convicted for the robbery of a jewellers’ shop and the possession of a loaded, sawed-off shotgun, for which was sentenced to eight years with three suspended.

The court heard that none of the witnesses at the post office raid wished to make a victim impact statement as they “wanted to get on with their lives”.

Hayes agreed with Seán Gillane SC, defending, that Kavanagh had a long standing, deep-seated chronic drug problem to heroin and crack cocaine.

Gillane said Kavanagh had had a difficult childhood due to his father’s alcoholism and had become addicted to drugs in his teens.

He said the CCTV footage which was played in court showed just how “out of control” Kavanagh was on the day in question.

The court heard that Kavanagh was very remorseful and apologised in a letter to all the members of the public who were present at the scene.

Kavanagh has been in custody on the matter since April 10, last year.

About the author:

Jessica Magee & Brion Hoban

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