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Man jailed after stab threat in Dungannon burrito bar robbery bid

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A father-of-two who tried to rob staff in a fast food outlet in Dungannon has been handed a 12-month sentence

A father-of-two who tried to rob staff in a fast food outlet in Dungannon has been handed a 12-month sentence

A father-of-two who tried to rob staff in a fast food outlet in Dungannon has been handed a 12-month sentence

A father-of-two who tried to rob staff in a fast food outlet in Dungannon has been handed a 12-month sentence.

Martin Cawley (24) threatened to stab an employee working in the El Paso Burrito Bar during the incident last May.

Cawley, from Oaks Road in Dungannon, appeared at Belfast Crown Court via videolink from Maghaberry Prison, where he was informed he will spend six months of his sentence in jail, followed by six out on licence.

Cawley yesterday requested that he be re-arraigned on two charges - attempted robbery and common assault - and after entering guilty pleas, he was sentenced.

Judge Stephen Fowler QC said the offence occurred at the premises on William Street just before midnight on Saturday, May 11 last year, when Cawley entered the kitchen area.

A second man pulled Cawley back, but he then threatened to stab a member of staff with a penknife he claimed was in his pocket if the till wasn't opened.

Cawley followed the employee to the till and asked him to hand money over, but the second man pulled him towards the door and they left the premises with a third man.

Police were called, a description of the would-be robber was given to officers and Cawley was arrested a short time later by a police patrol on Oaks Road.

During interview, Cawley said he had very little memory of the incident as he had consumed drink and drugs. And when asked about his threat to stab a staff member with a penknife, Cawley said: "I can't even remember walking into the place."

Judge Fowler said that during interview, Cawley also asked if he could write a letter or contact staff at El Paso to apologise.

The judge said such staff working in small businesses serving the local community were vulnerable and entitled to protection.

Pointing out the offences occurred "a year ago today", defence barrister Barry Gibson described what happened as "totally out of character" for his client.

The barrister said that at the time, Cawley was experiencing a low mood brought on by multiple recent family bereavements and was drinking heavily. As he passed sentence, Judge Fowler said he noted that Cawley failed to attend a previous court hearing and a warrant had to be issued for his arrest.

He said he accepted Cawley was "extremely drunk" on the evening in question and has since shown "genuine" regret and remorse for his actions.

Belfast Telegraph