Two Belfast men who engaged in what a judge described as ‘a trail of offending’ in the Derry area were yesterday jailed for a total of 16 years.
Michael Patrick Nolan (39) with an address in Newtownabbey admitted a total of seven charges including robbery, attempted robbery and a series of driving offences.
His co-accused, 34-year-old Henry Marley, of no fixed abode, admitted three charges in relation to the incidents on April 30 last year.
Derry Crown Court was told that Marley and Nolan took a car without permission and travelled to Donemana.
They entered the Credit Union and demanded money. They were wearing hoodies, their faces were covered and Nolan was armed with a wheel brace.
Marley grabbed one staff member’s handbag but she pulled it back from him.
At this point both men left and were seen driving away in the stolen car.
A short time later, Nolan pushed his way into a house in Woodside Heights in the Waterside area of Derry.
It was owned by a female hairdresser who had a customer at the time. Nolan demanded keys and punched the woman in the face a number of times.
The customer was also assaulted before they made off in her car.
Police gave chase to the vehicle and deployed a stinger device to bring the car to a halt.
Both men were detained at the scene.
Passing sentence, Judge Philip Babington said the hairdresser “Was the victim of a completely unprovoked attack and sustained both physical and psychological injuries.”
He added: “To be set on as she was in her own home was completely outrageous and unacceptable.”
The judge continued: “This was a day on which fear was engendered into two employees of the Donemana Credit Union and in relation to a hairdresser and her client.
“All these individuals were female. All were completely innocent and violence was wrought on two of them without any provocation whatsoever.”
Nolan was jailed for 12 years and will only be released when the Parole Commissioners consider it is safe to do so.
He also received an extended licence period of three years.
Marley was jailed for four years, half of which will be served in custody and half on licence.