Clondalkin man smashed lotto machine and tills during Kingswood Centra robbery

By Fiona Ferguson

A man with 139 previous convictions who smashed at a lotto machine and tills with a baseball bat during a supermarket robbery has been given a three year sentence.

Joseph French (25) is currently serving a seven-and-a-half year sentence for other robberies committed in 2014 and an offence of endangerment in which he reversed his car at speed towards a garda in 2015. This new sentence will be consecutive to a portion of that term.

Criminal Courts of Justice

French of Neilstown Park, Clondalkin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of Centra at Kingswood Shopping centre on September 30, 2015. His previous convictions include theft, robbery, possession of stolen property and road traffic offences.

Garda Ruth Brett told Noel Devitt BL, prosecuting, that a staff member described how a man armed with a bat jumped over the counter and screamed at him to open the tills. The man swung at the lotto machine and tills with the bat before fleeing the scene with €1,900.

The court heard French had been captured on CCTV in the shop about 20 minutes prior to the robbery before returning wearing the same clothes as well as a mask and a hi-vis jacket.

Luigi Rea BL, defending, handed in a letter from French in which he said he had changed his life for the better. French said he now wanted to live a good life for his daughter and asked the court to give him a chance. He said he was sorry for what he did and hoped the victims would forgive him.

Mr Rea said French had worked as an apprentice bricklayer and plasterer but his misuse of drugs at that time had taken him out of the workforce. He said French had turned his back on crime.

Judge Karen O'Connor noted French had a difficult and chaotic background which had been marred in many respects by drug addiction.

She noted he had apologised for the offence. She said the robbery had been frightening and noted the impact on the staff present.

French's current sentence imposed in 2015 is composed of a four year sentence for the earlier robberies as well as a consecutive three-and-a-half year sentence for the endangerment charge. The final two years of that entire seven and half year sentence were suspended.

Judge O'Connor imposed a three year sentence which is to run consecutive to the initial four year portion of his current sentence for the robberies committed in 2014. She suspended the final year.

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