Jailed for three years on burglary charge

Bishop street Courthouse
Bishop street Courthouse

A man who robbed two bookmakers with a toy gun was jailed for three years when he appeared before Londonderry Crown Court.

Darren Joseph Sweeney (35), of Greenwalk, pleaded guilty to the robbery of two McCleans Bookmakers on January 14, last year, as well as two further charges of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

The Crown Court was told Sweeney went into the bookmakers on the Strand Road and Foyle Street pointed the Winchester style shot gun at the managers and demanded money. He stole over £1,400 in the robberies.

Sweeney was linked to both incidents through his car, and eye witnesses were able to provide police with the registration number.

He denied the offences during police interview, but while in police custody he made a phone call to his wife and was overheard telling her there was money in a drawer.

Police searched the property and found £815.

Passing sentence, Judge Phillip Babington said Sweeney had complex medical problems and had his leg amputated in September last year.

He said as an act of mercy he would treat the 34-year-old as different to the norm.

“There is no doubt that this defendant will find any period of imprisonment much more difficult than any normal defendant and I intend to impose a lesser sentence,” he said.

The judge imposed a determinate sentence of three years, 15 months of which will be spent in prison with the remaining 21 months on licence.