Monday, July 18, 2022

Sonya McLean

A man who raided his local convenience store three times in the one week has been jailed for three and a half years.

Lee Swift (28) was living with his father at the time in his home just 500 yards away from the Centra on Kimmage Road Lower in Terenure. During his third raid of the store, staff alerted gardaí and he was still in the shop when the officers responded to the call.

Swift then threatened both gardaí Brendan Stynes and Jason O’Carroll – lunging at the officers with a knife until they were forced to retreat. Further gardaí were called in to assist and Swift was arrested a short time later following a brief pursuit.

Swift, of Kilcarrig Avenue, Tallaght pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of robbery and one count of attempted robbery between August 4th and 8th, 2021.

Previous convictions

He has 258 previous convictions, the majority of which are for road traffic offences but which also include criminal damage and theft offences.

Garda Stephen Byrne told Conor McKenna BL, prosecuting, that a total of €455 in cash and over €2,400 in cigarettes and tobacco were robbed over the course of the three raids after Swift threatened the staff with a knife.

Sarah Connolly BL, defending, told the court that Swift had chronic drug abuse issues stemming from an extremely troubled childhood and the death of his girlfriend in a car accident when she was four months pregnant with their child.

“He turns to drugs to quell that trauma,” Ms Connolly said.

Swift had a heart attack at the age of 18 after taking a cocktail of drugs, but continued taking drugs as soon as he recovered, the court heard.

Since going into custody in August 2021, Swift has done well and has expressed a wish to rehabilitate fully, defence counsel said.

Sentencing Swift on Monday, Judge Nolan said the crimes committed were relatively serious. He noted Swift has a long history of offending and has been given a number of chances in the past.

He handed down a five year sentence and suspended the final 18 months on a number of conditions.

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