Heroin addict jailed for robbing women in terrifying ordeals

Published 21/01/2016 | 00:00

The Gala Express newsagents at Slaney Place, Enniscorthy, where Castlebridge defendant Anthony Rossiter robbed €690 while brandishing a knife.
The Gala Express newsagents at Slaney Place, Enniscorthy, where Castlebridge defendant Anthony Rossiter robbed €690 while brandishing a knife.

A MAN who held a woman at knifepoint in a local newsagents and later assaulted an elderly woman robbing her of her handbag has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Twenty-eight-year-old Anthony Rossiter, of Ballyregan, Castlebridge, pleaded guilty before Judge Barry Hickson at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court to robbing Mary Browne of €690 in cash at the Gala Express Stores, Slaney Place, Enniscorthy, on June 17, 2015.

He further pleaded guilty to robbing Marie Foley at Springvalley, Enniscorthy, on June 14, 2015, of her handbag, which contained her house keys, mobile phone and a Dunnes Stores voucher. The defendant also pleaded guilty to assaulting Marie Foley, causing her harm.

A further plea of guilty was entered to the stealing a purse containing €20 cash, an ATM card and a medical card from Angela McDonald at Shannon Hill, Enniscorthy, on June 12, 2015.

Garda Alan Collins told the court that on June 17, 2015, the defendant entered the Gala Express store on Slaney Place. Having received a call relating to the robbery he attended the scene. He was told by shop employee Mary Browne of a man entering the shop, going behind the counter and brandishing a knife.

The defendant threatened Mary Browne with the knife, demanding that if she did not open the till he would harm her.

Garda Collins said the defendant was identified when CCTV of the incident was viewed.

Rossiter made away with €690 in cash, which was never recovered. The defendant was subsequently arrested on June 18, 2015, and conveyed to Enniscorthy Garda Station where he was interviewed on two occasions. During the course of the interviews the defendant also admitted to other offences.

Garda Collins also told the court that Mary Browne was 'too terrified' to come to court and that she had left her job as a result of her ordeal.

In a victim's impact statement, Mary Browne said: 'It was approximately 11.30a.m when I was putting money into the safe. At the time the shop was empty and she thought it was safe to do so. A man grabbed my arm brandishing a knife. He kept threatening and shouting to open the till and give him the money. I was shaking. I did not know whether he was drunk or what. I opened the till and he grabbed the money. He asked me for €50 notes but I said I did not have any.

'As he went to the door he shouted to me not to ring the gardai. He also shouted that he knew where me and my family lived. That terrified me, I was shaking.

'I will always remember what that guy said to me, that he knew where I and my family lived. Now I always lock the windows and doors. I used to like going for a walk but I now go out by car. I was always a good sleeper but I now find it difficult to sleep.'

In relation to the robbery at Springvalley, Enniscorthy, on June 14, 2015, Garda Collins told the court that a 63-year-old woman's handbag was pulled from her shoulder. The victim, Marie Foley, was knocked to the ground as she attempted to hold on to her handbag.

Prosecuting Counsel Ms Sinead Gleeson said that in her statement Marie Foley said: 'He grabbed my bag off my shoulder, he struck me with either a kick or a punch, and he knocked me face first to the ground. I turned around and he was gone. It all happened so fast. I thought I was going to die. I was in fear of my life. There was blood dripping everywhere. I was destroyed in blood.

'I had cuts to my forehead which had to be glued together while I also had to wear a bandage for two weeks as a result of the wounds,' said Marie Foley in her victim's impact statement. 'After this incident I suffered hugely from headaches. I could not sleep. When I did manage some sleep I would wake up with a hammering headache.

'I used to walk everywhere but as a result of this I cannot walk any place anymore. When I leave the house I have to be accompanied by someone as I now suffer from panic attacks. I always now wake up with a nightmare, fearing he was there, and cannot sleep. I am physically shaking with nerves. If a person comes up behind me now I freeze. My quality of life has suffered and my family are clearly worried about me. My mind reflects back to that day and I am ravished by flashbacks.'

The defendant also made a confession to the theft of June 12, 2015, from the car of Angela McDonald.

Defence Counsel, Grainne Fahy, said the defendant is a single man who is no longer welcome in the family home. He has one child but is no longer with his partner. He has instructed her to apologise to each of the three victims. The defendant, she said, owed money for heroin. He has co-operated fully with the Probation services while he has been off heroin since he went into custody.

Garda Collins said the defendant had 54 previous convictions.

Judge Hickson sentenced the defendant to four years in prison on the Gala Express robbery. He also sentenced him to four years in prison for the robbery of Marie Foley; two years in prison for the theft from Angela McDonald, and three years in prison for the assault of Marie Foley. He said all the sentences to run concurrently to be backdated to June 18, 2015.

Wexford People

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