A YOUNG woman who had a knife held to her throat during an armed robbery of a service station has told gardaí she has been left with a fear of lone men entering the shop and no longer trusts people.
The woman’s statement was read out to the recent circuit court, in the case of Waterford man, James Finn.
Detective Garda Owen Maher gave evidence that the injured party, a woman in her late teens or earlier 20s, was working alone at the Rosecourt Service Station, Cooltaderry, on May 2, 2011, which was the bank holiday weekend.
At 10am, Finn approached the woman with a bag of potatoes and when she went to scan the item, he jumped over the counter, grabbed her and put a knife to her throat. He left the store with €100 in cash.
There was CCTV footage from the store, but Dec Maher said he was unable to identify the accused. However, when stills from the CCTV footage were put on the garda network, Finn was identified by a garda in Waterford.
When arrested, Finn claimed he had used a butter knife, but Dec Maher said the injured party “did not believe it was anything as innocent”. The detective said that the knife was never recovered.
In her victim impact statement, the woman said she had worked in the shop for five years and used to be very confident, but following the attack she has been left with a fear of any man who comes into the shop on his own.
“I do not trust people now, especially lone men,” she said.
Dec Maher went on to say that Finn had committed a number of thefts at the time, due to a heroin addiction.
“He goes on a bit of a spree and ends up in court,” Dec Maher said.
Finn has 85 previous convictions, including assaults, thefts and public order offences.
Defence, Ms Geraldine Fitzpatrick said that Finn had made full admissions when arrested. She said that Finn told gardaí he hoped the injured party wasn’t in fear after the incident. Ms Fitzpatrick said Finn had some appreciation he had caused the woman some harm and he understood the terror she was in.
Ms Fitzpatrick said that Finn had drug addiction, but he is now engaging with an addiction counsellor and is living with his sister in Waterford.
She said that Finn wished to apologise to the injured party.
“This really justifies a custodial sentence,” said Judge Tony Hunt, but he noted that Finn’s last offence had been committed in October, 2011.
Dec Maher confirmed that Finn had not come to garda attention since his last court appearance.
The matter was adjourned to October 15 for a probation report, with Judge Hunt warning Finn he will be brought straight back to court if there is any further offending.