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24/07/2021

Robber whose crime featured on Joe Duffy jailed for mugging two tourists near the Guinness Storehouse

Robber whose crime featured on Joe Duffy jailed for mugging two tourists near the Guinness Storehouse

A robber has been jailed for three years and nine months for his crime against two tourists near the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

Paul Heaney (37) and Gareth Mallon (39), who had a realistic imitation firearm, robbed an Italian student of €60 and attempted to rob his teacher before fleeing the scene.

The court heard the case attracted some media attention and featured on the Liveline show on RTE radio.

Heaney, who was not armed during the offence, attended voluntarily at a garda station a few days later. Mallon was sentenced to four years imprisonment for his role last December.

Heaney, of Michael Mallin House, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery and attempted robbery at Long’s Place on October 21, 2019. He has 51 previous convictions, including convictions for robbery and attempted robbery.

Passing sentence on Monday, Judge Elma Sheahan said she does not see a difference between Heaney and his co-accused. She said this was a “joint enterprise” with both playing similar roles.

Judge Sheahan noted the “troubling and challenging upbringing” Heaney experienced in his youth. She accepted he has made efforts to rehabilitate, remain free of illicit substances and reduce his methadone intake.

She sentenced Heaney to four and a half years imprisonment, but suspended the final nine months on strict conditions.

At a previous sentencing hearing, Garda Cormac O'Donnell told Grainne O'Neill BL, prosecuting, that a group of 30 students in their late teens and their teachers had just left the Guinness Storehouse.

A student at the back of the group was approached by a man, Mallon, who pointed a gun at his legs and said softly “money, money, money”. The second man, Heaney, was unarmed and had a tissue over his face.

The student handed over €60 and the man then pointed the gun at one of the teachers who screamed. Another teacher came to her aid and the two robbers ran off.

A woman nearby videoed the robbery on her mobile phone. Heaney presented himself to gardaí a few days later.

Gda O'Donnell agreed with Fiona Murphy SC, defending, that Heaney placed himself at the scene with the person who produced the gun. He agreed Heaney played a lessor role but said it had been a “joint enterprise.”

Heaney told gardaí he had not been involved in planning the robbery.

Ms Murphy said Heaney had expressed remorse and regretted his involvement in the offence. She said he had been on his way to get tablets when he bumped into the other individual involved.

She said he had a difficult early life and had fallen into a cycle of going into custody, doing well, being released and falling 'off the wagon', then reoffending in a life marred by drug use. She said he is clean of drugs at present and anxious to engage with rehabilitation.

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