Judge Tony Hunt said he will make no promises about what approach to sentencing he will take in the case of a Mullingar man who pleaded guilty to attempting to rob a Mullingar newsagents.
Michael Kelly (24 ) of Ginnell Terrace admitted trying to rob the Topic Newsagents on Mount Street on July 7 last, when a sales assistant in her fifties was working behind the counter.
At around 8.15pm he entered the shop, covered from head to toe, wearing a hoodie, hat, and headscarf and carrying a meat cleaver.
He asked the woman to “gimme the f***ing money,” but when she told him to get out, and swiped at him with a folder she had in her hand, he ran away.
Detective Garda Finbarr Clarke said Kelly had spent less than 20 seconds in the shop, but reading from the victim impact statement, it was clear this was enough to frighten the saleswoman, who is now nervous walking to her car after work, and is always looking over her shoulder.
The court heard Kelly had been under pressure to get money to pay back a loan shark, and he was acting “out of desperation”.
While he admitted carrying the meat cleaver, he had no intention of using it, and gardaí found it later in a nearby river.
He hasn’t come to Garda attention since, and is now living with his mother.
“He hangs around with the wrong people, which isn’t helpful, but he knows that himself,” said the detective.
Mr Stephen Byrne, counsel for Kelly, said that publicity surrounding one of his 16 previous convictions had led to him being assaulted in prison and he is terrified of going back.
A combination of pressure about the loan, falling out with his mother, and not sleeping much had created the circumstances which led to the offence.
A probation report has been ordered, but Judge Hunt said the offence was serious and he would make no promises.
He adjourned the case to July.