Man jailed for Belfast off-licence raid
A man who robbed his local off-licence at gunpoint was jailed for three years yesterday after he agreed to spend a further two years on probation.
Belfast Crown Court heard that John Murtagh (44) threatened a lone female assistant with a “plasticy-looking” sub-machine gun when he robbed the Wineflair on Cromac Street on July 23, 2008.
During police interviews Murtagh, from Lower Stanfield Street, Belfast, denied the |robbery and claimed replica guns found in his home were not for any illegal purpose. He later pleaded guilty to stealing £139 and a quantity of cigarettes and possessing an imitation gun with intent to rob.
Judge Patricia Smyth said the courts had made it clear that those who target vulnerable businesses would be handed |deterrent sentences but that Murtagh needed help and supervision from probation to tackle substance abuse.