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10 Aug 2022

Laois post office robber who put gun to woman's head in front of her children jailed

'An attack on the fabric of society' says judge

A 48-year-old man who put an imitation firearm to a woman’s head in front of her two young children during a post office robbery in Mountrath has today been jailed for eight years, with the last two years suspended.

“An attack on the fabric of our society,” was how Judge Keenan Johnson described the crimes of Michael Gormley (48), with an address at 13 Bracklone Way, Bellingham, Portlaoise, but originally from Dublin.

The accused was charged with attempted robbery from Enfield Post Office, Co. Meath, and robbery from Mountrath Post Office, on July 5 last year. He was also charged with possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit an offence, at Mountrath Post Office on July 5, 2017; possession of an imitation firearm at Enfield Post Office on the same date; and possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances, at Bracklone Way, Portlaoise, on July 10.

During the robbery at Mountrath Post Office, the accused joined the queue behind a woman with two small children and put the gun to her head, demanding money from the teller.

He left the scene as the passenger in a blue Volkswagen Passat with €6,820 in cash.

Earlier that same day, the accused had entered Enfield Post Office with a firearm and demanded money. The clerk working wouldn’t give him the money, shouting out that the glass was bulletproof. The accused then left the scene.

After garda investigation, the gardaí obtained a search warrant for the accused’s home address where they located a Glock pistol. This was a working firearm and the accused was arrested.

The money stolen from Mountrath Post Office was not recovered. The accused told gardaí that he had committed the robbery to clear a drug debt. He also said he had been paid to hold the Glock pistol for another person.

The court heard that the accused was a chronic drug user and had been addicted to cocaine at the time of the offences. He had previous convictions, including robberies, burglary, and criminal damage.

Passing sentence, Judge Johnson said that all of the victims had been “profoundly, adversely affected psychologically as a consequence of the shock and terror they felt” during these offences.

“The type of offences to which the accused has pleaded guilty represents an attack on the fabric of our society,” he said.

For the robbery of Mountrath Post Office, the accused was sentenced to four years; for the attempted robbery of Enfield Post Office, he was sentenced to two years; and for the possession of the Glock pistol he was sentenced to two years, all to run consecutive.

This made a total of eight years in prison, with the final two years suspended for five years on condition the accused enter into a peace bond for five years post-release; that he submit himself to probation service supervision for 18 months; that he remain drug and alcohol free during the period of the suspended sentence and provide urinalysis; and that he complete a residential drug treatment programme within 18 months of being released.

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