A MAN who snatched the handbag from a woman in Letterkenny on Tuesday night has been referred to the Probation Service following what was described as a ‘very cowardly type of offence’.
22-year-old David Keane with an address given at 2 Fairleigh House, Letterkenny appeared before this morning’s sitting of Falcarragh District Court at Letterkenny Courthouse.
Keane pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of a kitchen knife at Lower Main Street, Letterkenny on Tuesday evening, May 19.
Garda Stephen McGonigle told the court that gardaí were alerted to a robbery at Lower Main Street at 8.05pm.
He told the court Ms Annemarie McBrearty woman was walking down the street when a male ran past her from behind and snatched her handbag from her shoulder.
Judge Paul Kelly heard that the robber fled down an alley way in the direction of Pearse Road. Ms McBrearty’s screaming alerted a number of bystanders. When two males realised what had happened they pursued the male, whom they said had a red beard and was wearing a black hoodie.
Keane dropped the bag as he fled and it was returned with the full contents, an iPhone, purse and cash, to Ms McBrearty who was in a ‘very distressed state’. The court heard that bystanders put the injured party into a taxi and she returned home and reported the incident.
A short time later, the men who had pursued the robber saw him again and recognised him, despite the fact that he was not wearing the hoodie.
Gardaí were alerted and Garda Stephen McGonigle and Detective Garda Michael Moreton apprehended the defendant, despite a short chase, on Pearse Road. Garda McGonigle told the judge that Keane admitted to the robbery explaining that he had lost €200 in a bookmakers that day.
The defendant told the gardaí he first made the 45-minute walk to the establishment where he works as a barman to ask for an advance, but to no avail.
Not knowing how he would explain the loss of money to his girlfriend, the court heard Keane said he went back to his apartment put a kitchen knife in his pocket and walked around the town for four hours. He said his plan was to cut himself and say he had been robbed.
Keane told the gardaí that the ‘did not know what came over him’ when he decided to rob the woman, who was described as 4ft5 and slight build.
Solicitor, Mr Michael Shiel told the court that the defendant, a British national, had moved to Letterkenny after meeting his girlfriend online last October. He said: “He completely lost it and does not know why he did it. He was not thinking straight at all.
“The plan he hatched did not make logical sense at all, and anybody thinking straight would not have done it, especially not when there were so many people around after a local event. He is very remorseful and has asked me to extend his apologies to the injured party.”
Judge Kelly said this was a ‘very cowardly type of offence’ on a young lady, small of stature. “Thankfully she had the presence of mind to alert someone and he was apprehended thanks to the assistance of the two gentlemen.
“I am somewhat alarmed by the fact that he was walking around town with a knife for four hours. But he did not produce the knife during the robbery or his subsequent arrest.”
Referring him to the Probation Service, Judge Kelly released Keane on bail in his own bond of €500 on the strict conditions that he signs on daily at Letterkenny Garda Station, provides a contact number and does not apply for a passport. The case was adjourned to July 15.
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