Failed robber dials 999 and admits: I’ve just done a hold-up
A west Belfast man who called the PSNI to inform them he had carried out an armed robbery at a fast food outlet was handed a four-year sentence yesterday.
Chris Davis, from Ballymurphy Road, was jailed for three attempted robberies and possessing a hammer in a public place.
The 19-year-old, who committed the botched robberies whilst under the influence of prescription drugs, was informed by Judge Stephen Fowler QC that he will spend two years of his sentence in custody, followed by the same period on licence when he is released.
Judge Fowler said that whilst he was noting Davis's youth, immaturity and addiction to drugs, there was a need for the courts to protect small businesses.
Belfast Crown Court heard that around 10.45am on December 12 last year, Davis armed himself with a hammer and entered the Boots chemists in the Park Centre. He approached a cashier and whilst wielding the hammer, he demanded cash - which was refused.
When the store manager and security staff intervened, Davis then demanded Lyrica and other prescription medication. This was also refused and, after trying to make an escape from the scene, he gave himself up in the mall area, where he was detained until police arrived.
He was arrested and replied "indeed", and during interview Davis made full admissions about the attempted robbery and claimed he was coming down off drugs and tried to get more Lyrica to feed his addiction.
The following month, Davis carried out a further two attempted robberies at two fast food outlets in the west - and called 999 afterwards to confess what he'd done.
At around 10.45pm on January 27, 2019, he entered the Chilli Chilli takeaway on the Falls Road whilst brandishing a length of drainpipe.
He had his face covered and demanded money, but staff members refused and he left empty-handed.
He then targeted a second outlet, Lucky Little Chef, where he again demanded money and threatened to hit a member of staff with the drainpipe.
After his request was turned down, he left but returned a short time later, when a member of staff took the pipe off him and threw it away.
Davis then dialled 999 and told an operator he had just committed an armed robbery on the Falls Road.
When he was arrested he told police "tomorrow when I get out, I will cut someone up".
Interviewed the following day, Davis claimed he had no memory of the previous evening.
He said he remembered playing his Xbox and taking a mixture of cannabis, Lyrica and Diazepam, then everything went blank and the next thing he remembered was waking up in the cells.
He also told police he was addicted to drugs and was "disgusted and embarrassed" by his behaviour.
As he sentenced Davis, Judge Fowler said while he accepted Davis's remorse and regret were genuine, there was both a need for a deterrent sentence and a need for the courts to protect small businesses and their often vulnerable members of staff.