28 Jan 2022

Drug addict who held five people hostage during armed school robbery to be sentenced next week

Drug addict who held five people hostage during armed school robbery to be sentenced next week

A man who held five members of the board of management at a Longford town primary school hostage and committed an armed robbery has told the court of his addiction issues which began at the age of 14.

James Cranny, 14 Meadowcrest, Boyle, Co Roscommon, appeared before Judge Keenan Johnson at Longford District Court where he read out five letters of apology to the victims of his actions in August 2020.

The court heard that the man had consumed a significant amount of intoxicants before carrying out an armed robbery at the school, including a bottle of whiskey, 38 sleeping tablets, 40 valium tablets and heroine.

He then entered the school staff room and threatened all five present with a screwdriver, before making his escape with a quantity of cash. He was arrested by gardaí a short time later but was too intoxicated to make a statement until the following morning.

Mr Cranny said that he could not recall how he got to the school but entered an early plea of guilt and, in response to the charges, stated that he wanted to waive his right to a book of evidence because "those people shouldn't have been put through that".

Judge Johnson told the court that he would be taking time to deliberate before sentencing Mr Cranny, to whom Mount Joy Prison has been a "second home".

"This was a very serious offence on a very vulnerable set of victims. The boards of management are the unsung heroes of our educstiijs system," he said.

"This is aggravated by the fact they were working in such difficult times to make the school safe. For them to be subjected to this violent act is appalling."

Mr Cranny will reappear 

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