Two Derry men charged with the robbery of a Co Donegal petrol station last weekend have been sentenced to six months detention.
Steve Smith, (22), from 32 Bradley Way, and Mark Villa, (18), from 75 Marianus Park, Hazelbank, pleaded guilty to robbery when they apeared at Carndonagh District Court yesterday morning.
The court heard how Smith and Villa threatened two petrol pump attendants at Donaghey’s Garage in Muff with a penknife and a large chain, before making off with £350 and €320 in cash on Saturday evening, April 14.
Following a chase with Gardai, the defendants crashed at Birdstown, Burnfoot and made off through fields, before being apprehended and subsequently arrested.
Both defendants were on bail from Derry Court at the time of the robbery in Inishowen and Smith had been wearing an electronic tag.
Addressing court, Dave Donaghey, owner of the Muff fuel station, said the two men went to “extreme lengths” and were very “intimidating” towards his staff members who, he said, “were only trying to do an honest day’s work”.
Mr Donaghey said his employees, who were present with him in court and aged 21 and 16 years of age, were traumatised following the robbery.
Defence solicitor Ciaran McLochliann said his two clients had been “high on blues” [diazepam] at the time of the incident and while they didn’t have “much recollection”, they were extremely sorry to the young men for their ordeal.
He added: “You’ve heard of Dumb and Dumber, well these two are Dim and Dimmer. There was no fore planning here, it was just a mad moment on their behalf and now they are genuinely remorseful and want to plead at the earliest date.”
Judge Paul Kelly said, while he accepted their early plea and remorse, this was an “appalling crime” and he had no choice but to exercise the full power of the court.
He sentenced Smith to six months imprisonment and Villa, six months detention.
Inspector David Murphy praised members of the public around the Birdstown area who assisted the Gardai in the capture of the defendants.
For more on this story see Friday’s edition of the Derry Journal….