Aldi knife raider jailed for five years
A 34-YEAR-OLD Gorey man who threatened staff with a kitchen knife during the raid on a supermarket has been jailed for five years.
John Kinsella, of 24 Clonattin Village, pleaded guilty before Judge Barry Hickson at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court to robbing Aldi Supermarket, Gorey, of €955 in cash on May 17, 2014.
Outlining the facts to the court, Sgt. Ray Heffernan said that gardai received a call relating to an armed robbery at the Aldi Supermarket in Gorey town. Wearing a hood over his head, Kinsella had entered the Aldi store at around 3.30 p.m. armed with a kitchen knife with a blade of 9" to 10" in length.
Sgt. Heffernan said there were three cashiers, the manager and the assistant manager on duty at the time, and a total of thirteen customers in the store.
The defendant threatened a member of staff and demanded that she open the till. He became aggressive and shouted at another cashier, demanding that he also open his till. The cashier had difficulty with this and the assistant manager arrived on the scene, and opened the till. Kinsella then took the cash before leaving the store.
Sgt. Heffernan said gardai pursued the defendant and eventually found him. Kinsella was arrested and €925 of the stolen €955 was recovered.
The garda sergeant said the defendant had fourteen previous convictions.
Defence Counsel Damien Colgan said when arrested the defendant pointed himself out on the CCTV footage.
He said the defendant went into the store he was in possession of a knife but did not intend to harm people, but they would not have known that.
He said that his client is a man on substantial medication and that his past convictions were all drug related. He is the father of five children, with two by his current partner, who have been taken into care. He currently resides with his partner and mother, and has also attended the Cornmarket Project for addiction and learning problems.
Mr. Colgan said the Probation services had intervened at this stage and the defendant is endeavouring to co-operate with them.
Pointing out that Kinsella had entered the store brandishing a knife, Judge Hickson said his behaviour in the store was deplorable and must have been frightening for staff, particularly in light of the fact that he vigorously threatened one member of staff.
The Judge acknowledged that the defendant made himself available for fingerprints and pleaded guilty at an early stage. People who embark on these robberies, he said, are fuelled with drugs and sometimes can make an irrational decision, ending up where they do not intend to be.
Judge Hickson said that in a statement, one of the cashiers told of a real life threatening experience, as he felt he could have been stabbed. The cashier said the incident has hung over his life and that he still gets flashbacks.
Describing the defendant as having an appalling past record, Judge Hickson sentenced him to six years in prison with one year suspended for a period of two years on him entering into into a bond to keep the peace for two years.