28 Jan 2022

Woman jailed for robbery and assault

Woman jailed for robbery and assault

A Longford woman currently serving two and a half year sentence for robbery has been convicted of two separate assaults within hours of each other.

Frances O’Brien (24), 4 Cluain Ard, Ardnacassa, Longford, pleaded guilty to both offences at last week’s sitting of Longford District Court.

The court heard how Ms O’Brien, under the influence of an intoxicant, called to the home of an acquaintance and his partner on November 8 2018.

Despite her intoxicated state, the court heard Ms O’Brien arrived at the premises on a motor chair which belonged to her partner’s father.

Upon knocking at their door, Sgt McGirl said Ms O’Brien asked the couple if they had seen her partner before entering the property and making tea for herself.

A short time later, Ms O’Brien asked to go to the toilet and for other woman to accompany her.

Within seconds, Sgt McGirl said the man followed the two women upstairs after hearing a commotion.

There, it was claimed, Ms O’Brien was found holding a large kitchen knife in a “threatening manner” towards the woman.

At this point, the woman managed to escape back downstairs, leaving Ms O’Brien and and the man upstairs.

Sgt McGirl said Ms O’Brien then put the knife to the man’s back and threatened to stab him unless he handed over his wallet.

After managing to take almost €50 from her victim, Ms O’Brien fled the scene and dropped the knife in making her getaway.

The court was also informed of a second Section 2 assault which happened on the same day.

On that occasion, shortly before 8pm Ms O’Brien and another person entered Lloyds Pharmacy, Longford Shopping Centre.

After quickly becoming suspicious of the pair, assistance from a security guard was sought and both left the premises.

A short time later, Sgt McGirl said Ms O’Brien returned and approached a female pharmacist, becoming “extremely confrontational and aggressive” in the process.

“It’s alleged at that stage she headbutted her to the side of the head,” said Sgt McGirl.

Though managing to avoid any major injuries, Sgt McGirl said the woman was severely shaken up by the ordeal.

Asked about her previous criminal record by Judge Seamus Hughes, Sgt McGirl said Ms O’Brien had six prior convictions to her name.

Four of those were for theft related offences, the most current of which came in December 2018.

More recently, the court was informed Ms O’Brien had been given a two and a half year prison term for robbery as well as two suspended sentences totalling up to six years.

In defence, solicitor Fiona Baxter said her client was originally from Portlaoise but had been residing in Longford for the past number of years.

She said Ms O’Brien had been in custody since last September, but in that time has been attending counselling and hailed as an “enhanced prisoner” by authority bosses.

On medication for psychiatric issues, Ms Baxter said Ms O’Brien’s immediate concern was for her three young children who she hasn’t been able to see since her incarceration.

In summation, Judge Hughes said it was worth noting Ms O’Brien was staring at serving most, or if not all, of the suspended prison term still hanging over her if she committed any further crimes upon her release.

“She will have to watch her p’s and q’s going forward,” he said.

“It’s a very serious matter to go into a person’s home and rob them at knifepoint.”

On the robbery charge, Judge Hughes sentenced Ms O’Brien to eight months in prison and a further two months concurrent for the Section 2 assault.

Both terms, he ordered to run concurrently to the existing sentence already being served by Ms O’Brien.

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