Man jailed for robbing several taxi drivers and shops while on drink and drugs bingeGary Ibbotson 22 Nov 2022
By Jessica Magee
A man who robbed several taxi-drivers and shops while on a five-day drink and drugs binge has been jailed for three years.
Paul Timmons (31) of Monksfield Grove, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, pleaded guilty earlier this year to four robberies and one attempted robbery, carried out between January 26 and 31, 2020.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that on the first occasion, Timmons threatened to stick a biro into a female shop assistant’s neck unless she gave him money.
A few days later, he pulled a ten-inch butcher’s knife from his sock and threatened a taxi driver.
Passing sentence yesterday, Judge Pauline Codd said she had to impose a significant sentence as the attacks had been on people who were simply trying to make a living and interfacing with members of the public.
“These taxi drivers go out in the night to work hard to make a living to support themselves and their families. This is a threat that taxi men live with in the course of their occupation and the courts cannot in any way condone such behaviour and attacks on people who are providing a public service,” said Judge Codd.
She sentenced Timmons to six years but suspended the final three years because of the very serious efforts made by the accused towards rehabilitation and the remorse he has expressed.
The sentence was backdated for seven months to take into account time Timmons has already served.
Giving evidence to the court, Timmons said he wanted to apologise to all the injured parties.
“I was very, very badly addicted. I’m very ashamed of what happened. The robberies weren’t planned, I was just getting my fix in any way.
“Looking back, I’m a different person now,” said Timmons, who has successfully completed a residential course in Coolmine rehabilitation centre along with a number of education and training courses.
Timmons also told the court that after he was 11 months clean, he attempted suicide by jumping off a multi-story building and broke both his legs, putting him in hospital for six or seven weeks.
Garda Jamie Doyle told Gráinne O’Neill BL, prosecuting, that on the morning of January 26, 2020, a man later identified as Timmons entered a Mace shop on Muckross Avenue with his face covered by a jacket.
He ran towards the till with his arm raised brandishing a biro, and shouted to the female shop assistant that he would “stick her in the neck” if she didn’t give him money.
The shop owner handed over €120 from the till and Timmons fled the scene.
Three days later, a taxi driver was passing the Snug Bar on Upper Stephen’s Street in Dublin city centre when he was flagged down a man who asked him to pick up his brother.
The two passengers, later identified as Paul and Patrick Timmons, proceeded to give the taxi driver directions to Grafton Street, then Patrick put a bottle to the driver’s neck and shouted, “Give me your wallet.”
The taxi driver handed them all the banknotes that he had, totalling about €20, and the men left.
About 15 minutes later, the Timmons brothers flagged down another taxi driver and after travelling a short distance, Paul Timmons who was a front seat passenger, grabbed the dashcam and about €30 in cash from the central console.
The taxi driver said “Please don’t hurt me,” and gave them a further €80 before they fled the taxi.
The court heard that Patrick Timmons pleaded guilty to these robberies and was sentenced to four and a half years in prison.
A few days later on January 31, a third taxi driver was coming over the bridge at Dolphins Barn when he picked up four passengers, including Paul Timmons.
They gave directions for the taxi to drive up Cashel Road and then Timmons pulled a ten-inch butcher’s knife from his sock and said: “Give me your money.”
The taxi driver gave him €35 in cash plus a box of coins with a value of €10, and Timmons also took the dashcam which was worth about €60.
All three taxi drivers told gardaí they were terrified by their experiences. One driver said he couldn’t work for a week as he was very shaken by the incident, while another driver said he remained worried that he might pick up the same people who robbed him.
Also on January 31, Timmons tried to rob a Spar shop on South Circular Road, but was chased out by a shopkeeper who was commended in court by Judge Codd for his courage.
None of the cash or dashcams were recovered.
The court heard that Timmons has 26 previous convictions, including five Circuit Court offences for robberies and attempted robbery,
Marc Thompson-Grolimund BL, defending, said a probation report put Timmons at moderate risk of reoffending, but added that Timmons has already addressed many of his own risk factors.
He pointed out that Timmons was clean of drugs and was due to graduate this week from a training course in construction, in which sector he hopes to find work.
The court heard that Timmons has the support of his mother and sister who were present in court and had written letters to the judge.
Judge Codd praised Timmons’ mother for her support of her son, saying: “I’m sure her parental love has been tested, but she continues to support him in a life post-drugs.”
The judge agreed that Timmons had made very serious efforts towards rehabilitation and ordered him to continue to engage in any treatment and relapse prevention as deemed appropriate by the Probation Service.