Robber drops cash till he was carrying and produces a machete

By Fiona Ferguson

A 22-year-old man brandished a machete at a garda pursuing him and his uncle from a shop they had just robbed, a court has heard.

Dean Donovan and his uncle Jonathan Donovan (33) were running to a getaway car when garda arrived at the scene. Dean dropped a cash till he was carrying and produced a machete when gardai approached as he attempted to get into the car driven by his uncle.

Dublin Courts 3

The pair of robbers made their escape but were pursued and arrested.

Dean and Jonathan Donovan pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of the Spar shop on Martin's Road, Chapelizod on April 8, 2018.

Dean, of no fixed abode, also admitted production of a machete, while Jonathan of O'Devaney Gardens, Dublin pleaded guilty to driving without insurance on the same occasion.

Dean Donovan further pleaded guilty to six counts of burglary at locations in Dublin in October 2015 and on dates between January and March 2018.

Jonathan Donovan has 83 previous convictions including a six year sentence with 18 months suspended for assault causing serious harm and production of a weapon.

He was on the suspended portion of that sentence, which has since been reactivated, when this robbery was committed.

Dean Donovan has 51 previous convictions for offences including violent disorder, assault, hijacking, burglary, criminal damage and public order offences.

Judge Melanie Greally adjourned finalisation to allow her consider a number of reports.

Garda Peter Smyth told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, that he and Garda James Keogh were alerted to a robbery in progress at the Spar shop on Martin's Road, Chapelizod on April 8, 2018.

Dean and Jonathan Donovan had entered the shop armed with knives and robbed €305 in cash. Jonathan had dropped a meat cleaver as they fled from the shop.

As gardai arrived Dean and Jonathan were running from the shop, with Dean carrying one of the shop tills. The robbers ran towards an Opel Corsa and Jonathan got into the drivers side.

Dean dropped the till as he tried to get into the passenger side. Gda Keogh approached him and Dean produced a machete which he brandished at Gda Keogh. The garda took a step back to avoid being hit by the weapon.

Gda Smyth, who was driving a patrol car, attempted to box in the getaway car but had to take evasive action to avoid a collision as the Opel Corsa sped off on the Knockmaroon road.

Garda followed the car and found it abandoned with Dean and Jonathan on the opposite side of the road. Jonathan was held at the scene while Dean climbed over a wall into the Phoenix Park.

A description of Dean was put out over garda radio and he was arrested nearby.

Money was recovered from both men with a merchant copy of a bank slip from Spar amongst the notes. Both men's DNA were found on the meat cleaver left at the scene.

Garda Niall Godfrey outlined Dean Donovan's involvement in five burglaries in 2018 in the Dublin 2 and Dublin 8 areas.

A number of houses were broken into with items including wallets, cash and bank cards taken.

Cars were also stolen after keys were taken from the houses and a number of the cars were recovered using their location tracking systems. Another car had been crashed and went on fire.

Dean made admissions to the burglaries despite saying he had no recollection of some of them.

He also admitted breaking into a number of post boxes at a flat complex in 2015.

Gda Godfrey agreed with Aidan McCarthy BL defending Dean, that his client could not have been more co-operative with the garda investigation. He agreed Dean was abusing a “myriad of drugs” at the time but said he looked much healthier now.

Mr McCarthy said Dean came from a “horrendous background” with parents who had drug and alcohol addictions.

He had gone into care at the age of seven, passing through 59 different foster homes.

Counsel said Dean had “informally” left the care system by running away as a teenager and ended up homeless. He had been drinking daily and abusing drugs during this time.

Mr McCarthy said the only “beacon of hope” in Dean's life was his partner and their young baby.

He said Dean had gone into the system as a child and was now in a different part of the same machinery, incarcerated in the prison system. He asked for some sort of “light at the end of the tunnel.”

He said Dean was hoping to try to make a life for himself and his new family when he gets out.

Karl Monahan BL, defending Jonathan, said his client had a difficult background, having been in care from eight years old before starting to abuse substances at 13 years old and entering the prison system at 15 years old.

He said Jonathan had previously become drug free in custody and had thought he could handle life outside but found himself unable to handle practical matters as he had become institutionalised.

Mr Monahan said Jonathan had suffered a relapse into drug addiction which his client described as “walking off a cliff.”

He said Jonathan, who is now drug free in prison again, realises he is running out of time and believes residential treatment is the best option for him

He said Jonathan is regretful about his involvement in this offence and that he had not stopped his nephew becoming involved.

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