Robber lets UCC student keep €50 because student “needed it”

Jamie Mc Carron 

Lower John Street, Cork. Photo by Denis Minihane

A 34-year old student from University College Cork was robbed in Cork city centre in April to the value of €6.

Ian Heaphy, 33, pleaded guilty to robbery in Cork Circuit Criminal Court last week but did not take a €50 note after the victim said he needed the cash.

Detective Sergeant Kieran O’Sullivan said that Heaphy was holding some form of implement when at the time of the crime, which took place on Lower John Street, Cork.

When Heaphy demanded cash the student gave him a €1 coin from his pocket.

Heaphy then said that it was not enough and the student then took out his wallet and gave him a €5 note.

“There was another €50 note in the wallet which Mr Heaphy saw and asked for it but the injured party said he needed it,” Det Sgt O’Sullivan said.

Heaphy fled from the scene and did not take the €50 note.

Heaphy’s barrister, Paula McCarthy told the court: “He had an opportunity to take more money but when the victim told him he needed it he did not take it from him. In this way, while it is a very serious offence, there was some element of him trying to hold back.”

Ms McCarthy said that although the accused had several previous convictions they were not for violent crimes and claimed that the only reason Heaphy carried out this robbery was because he was under duress to repay a drug debt of €1,000.

Ms McCarthy also said the accused was engaging with an addiction counsellor.

Judge James McCourt noted that the maximum penalty for robbery was up to life imprisonment but said that the fact that the accused decided not to take the €50 note was a mitigating factor n the case.

“You robbed €6 from the injured party on April 21 this year. While it took you until the third interview with gardaí to proffer full admissions, you did so eventually and pleaded guilty to the offence,” he said.

“Certainly, rehabilitation is required in your case. You suffered from the persistent problem of substance abuse. And you have 110 previous convictions. But one has to go back to 2009 for burglary offences.You have been free of the notice of guards for over 10 years.”

Heaphy was noted as being highly intoxicated on the night of the incident, he had no recollection of events but he admitted it when it was shown to him on CCTV.

Det Sgt O’Sullivan said that the victim thought Heaphy had a knife during the robbery but he could not be sure. The detective said it was not clear from CCTV what was in his hand. Ms McCarthy said that Heaphy told her it was a torch.

Jamie Mc Carron

Image Credit: Denis Minihane