Irish robber apologised twice while holding gun
A "gentleman robber" who apologised twice during the course of an armed robbery was jailed yesterday.
Martin Considine (33), of Clarehill, Clarecastle, Co Clare, went into a post office with his face covered by a scarf.
He raised a gun and pointed it at the Broadford postmistress's face and told her "this is a robbery", a court was told.
Postmistress Yvonne McLoughlin said yesterday: "I thought 'duh' of course it's a robbery. I told him, 'Okay, let's be calm about this'."
She added: "I was shaking. I was in a terrible state. You never know how someone like that with a gun will react."
Considine said "I'm sorry" as he pointed the gun at her and later repeated "I'm sorry" as he exited the shop.
She said: "He was a gentleman robber. A polite robber.
"He was very quiet. His whole manner was apologetic. He was polite and not verbally threatening in any way."
Considine had already pleaded guilty to stealing ?3,200 in cash from Broadford post office in south-east Clare on September 4, 2009.
Last January Judge Carroll Moran imposed a three-year suspended sentence, and warned Considine that he faced the jail term if he didn't pay ?3,200 compensation to Ms McLoughlin.
But Considine ceased his payments in April of last year, and has paid no money since.
Counsel for the State told Judge Moran yesterday that he had shown the accused great leniency and had bent over backwards in not sending Considine to jail last year.
Lorcan Connolly, for Considine, said that his client suffered a severe injury requiring surgery, and that had disrupted the repayment programme.
However, Judge Moran said that Considine would have continued to receive his welfare payments while in hospital.
Judge Moran said that he was not convinced by Considine's excuse for not paying the money.
Judge Moran said that he would activate the three-year jail term, but suspended the final six months.
In court last year, Garda Pat Keane praised the actions of the postmistress, who, he said, delayed Considine by insisting that the money be counted for insurance reasons before handing it over.
Gda Keane said that the delay allowed gardai to get a much better description of Considine.
Ms McLoughlin said: "It was a very, very frightening experience. I have lived in Liverpool and worked in Manchester where I never came across anything like this, and you don't expect something like this in sleepy old Broadford."
But she added: "It is unusual for a robber to come in with a gun and apologise."