Armed robber is given an 10-year jail term by district judge

Bishop Street Courthouse.
Bishop Street Courthouse.

A Crown Court Judge has imposed a 10-year jail sentence on a man who brandished a gun and threatened staff during the robbery of a bookmakers in the city a fortnight before Christmas in 2013.

In the dock was Robert Barry Crossan (38), with an address at Creggan Heights in the Cityside has been jailed for 10 years for the armed robbery of a bookies.

At a previous sitting of the Crown Court Crossan was found guilty of the robbery, which occurred on December 14, 2013. Crossan was convicted on a majority verdict after a trial by jury.

The court was told that Crossan had entered the bookmakers premises armed with a gun at 9.25pm.

At the time of the incident he was wearing a hoodie and also had a balaclava pulled down to help cover his face.

The court was told that Crossan banged a gun on the glass four or five times and demanded money from the safe inside the premises.

When he was told that the safe was on a time lock and could not be opened on demand he took money from the betting shop manager’s hand. The court heard that he made off with roughly £400 in cash.

The manager told the court that his staff had felt threatened and frightened by the robbery.

The court also heard how, during a briefing on the robbery on December 30, a police officer thought she recognised Crossan, with whom she had had previous dealings stretching back for around seven years.

A procedure known as a controlled viewing was carried out and the officer identified Crossan. At that point he was arrested, however, during interview he denied all of the offences.

Prior to handing down sentence, Judge Philip Babington he described Crossan as someone with had a poor record, noting that his rap sheet contained 101 previous offences, which included entries for both burglary and theft charges.

Judge Babington said Crossan’s offending had begun in 1990, when he was just 15 and it appeared that his offending had continued to the present day.

He also noted that Crossan had been assessed as being at high risk of re-offending, due to his drug use as well as other factors.

Judge Babington said it was noted that Crossan had been using cannabis from the age of around 12, and had used ecstasy at the age of 15.

He said Cross and had told a probation officer he had no memory of the robbery but had probably done it to feed his drug habit, and added that the use of a weapon was an aggravating factor as was Crossan’s significant criminal record.

Imposing penalty, Judge Babington said robbery was a serious offence and offending against small businesses had to be deterred.