Getaway driver gets four years
AN ARKLOW YOUTH who was the getaway driver in a robbery which resulted in the death of shopkeeper John Deasy was sentenced to four years detention at Wicklow Circuit Court last Friday.
Last December John Byrne (20) of 9 Croughan Heights, Arklow, pleaded guilty to robbery at Brauders Shop, Coolgreany Road, Arklow, on November 25, 2009 and the case had been adjourned to allow for the preparation of a probation report.
Sgt. Conor McEvoy told the court that Kay O’Connor worked parttime in Brauders Shop. She started work on the evening of November 25 at 6pm and the shop was busy until 8pm. The owner, John Deasy, was upstairs in his private residence.
Moments after the 8pm news the door of the shop opened and a youth, not Byrne, entered. He was wearing a light powder blue mask over his face and he had a knife in his hand.
He demanded she open the till and he put the knife to her face. Ms. O’Connor shouted for help from Mr. Deasy and the youth took some notes from the till.
He was fleeing the shop when he met Mr. Deasy at the door and the court heard ‘ there was an interaction between Mr. Deasy and the youth and Mr. Deasy unfortunately passed away following this interaction’. For the State Paul Murray, BL, said this youth is now facing a charge in a higher court as a result of the incident.
Ms. O’Connor said the youth ran from the shop and ran up towards St. Peter’s Place and she gave medical assistance to Mr. Deasy. She said no more than €150 was taken in the robbery.
Sgt. McEvoy said gardaí focused their inquiries on a white Renault van which was seen in the vicinity of the shop around the time of the robbery.
He said the gardaí got CCTV footage from various premises and the van was seen on 21 occasions prior to the robbery. ‘ On three occasions it drove directly past the shop over the course of a half-hour period,’ he said.
The van was traced to Byrne and he was arrested on November 27. During his second interview, he said the other man who was known to him told him he was going to rob a shop. He said he drove past Brauders Shop a couple of times.
At 7.30pm, he drove the other youth to his home and the youth went into his house for 20 minutes and came out with two jackets and Byrne told the gardaí he had a knife.
Byrne drove the other youth to Brauders Shop and Byrne parked up around the corner. The other youth left the van and he returned ‘ two or three minutes’ telling him to drive to the laneway where he had collected him.
Byrne told the gardaí he ‘didn’t know what to do’ about telling anyone once the details of the robbery emerged. ‘I suppose I would have been afraid’, he said adding the other youth had ‘ told me not to say anything’.
During a garda interview he said ‘sorry for withholding information. I should have come to you sooner. I feel sick. I am sorry I ever had anything to do with it and sorry for John Deasy’s children’. He said confessing felt ‘ like a weight of his shoulders’.
The court heard Byrne had been in custody in respect of the robbery since April 23, 2010 after his High Court bail was revoked.
Brauders Shop in Arklow where John Deasy was killed.