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Son of late IRA chief jailed for robbery

A son of the late IRA leader and hunger striker Brendan ‘Darkie’ Hughes has been jailed for four years for a robbery at a Belfast filling station.

Belfast Crown Court heard yesterday that Brendan Emmanuel Hughes (35) of no fixed abode was part of a three-man gang that used a knife to hold up staff at the garage on the Crumlin Road on April 13, 2008, and stole money from the till.

Hughes pleaded guilty to the robbery offence and posssession of an offensive weapon. He also admitted fraud charges involving the use of a stolen credit card.

His father, one of the IRA's leading strategists, died two months before the robbery and a defence lawyer said his client had lived in the shadow of “the very important republican figure.”

But he said that Hughes' father had not been in his client's life for a number of years and there were unresolved issues between them.

He said the defendant had spiralled into alcohol and drugs but was trying to turn his life around. Hughes agreed to two years’ probation on his release from jail.

A co-accused, Eamon Patrick Thomas Devlin, of no fixed abode, who also pleaded guilty to the filling station robbery, was sentenced to 27 months imprisonment and agreed to complete one year's probation.

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