Belfast Telegraph

'Amateur' armed robber left fingerprint on west Belfast shop's till

By John Cassidy

A man has been jailed for four years for an "amateurish robbery'' of a west Belfast petrol station armed with a shotgun.

Diarmuid Martin McKernan (30), of Violet Street, Belfast, pleaded guilty to robbery and possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence.

Belfast Crown Court heard that McKernan committed the hold-up just days after being released on licence from prison.

Prosecution lawyer Rosemary Walsh told the court that two female shop assistants were working at the Go petrol station at Lanark Way when McKernan entered it on October 29, 2013.

She said one saw him pull out a gun from underneath his long black coat and point it at her.

"He started shouting and saying, 'Give me the f***ing money out of the till'.''

The second shop assistant was seen on the CCTV footage played to the court diving behind the counter to hit the panic button.

Her terrified colleague then set the till drawer on top of the counter and an unmasked McKernan could be seen seen removing around £200 in cash with his ungloved hands. Ms Walsh told the court that forensic experts found a fingerprint on the till drawer which proved a match to McKernan.

Defence barrister Neil Fox described the robbery as "amateurish'' with little or no planning with McKernan fleeing on a bike.

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