01 Oct 2022

No jail for knife-wielding robber who tried to make musician go to ATM in Kilkenny

Man suffered facial injuries

A man has avoided serving time in jail for his part in the robbery of a popular musician at knife-point in the centre of Kilkenny City.

The musician was assaulted and was being walked to an ATM to withdraw money for his assailants when a passing garda car came to his aid.

The injured man, of popular band The Kilkennys, was hit and suffered facial injuries.

Dean Cooke, Good Shepherd Hostel, Kilkenny, pleaded guilty to a charge of robbery. The incident occurred between 3.30am and 4.15am on November 7, 2017. Mr Martin was at the pedestrian lights at the Applegreen on Dean Street when he was hit from the side and fell to the ground.

Garda Brendan Power told the court the injured man was left with a bloody nose and facial swelling. Because there were two men involved the injured man was not aware who struck him.

The men took a wallet from their victim's pocket, a mobile phone and his watch. A chain was pulled from around his neck and they attempted to remove a ring from his finger, but were unsuccessful.

Money was taken from the wallet and the men demanded the injured man take them to an ATM to withdraw money from his bank account. They were going to take him to the AIB ATM at the opposite end of the town.

When the injured man made an attempt to resist Mr Cooke produced what he described as a ‘butterfly knife.’ The sergeant said it was a Swiss army style knife.

The men walked their victim  along Parliament Street. Fortunately for the injured man someone had contacted gardaí to say there was an issue with three men on the street. When the garda patrol car pulled up beside them he saw his chance and ran.

The injured man reported to the gardaí what happened to him. He was obviously distressed and had obvious injuries to his face.
At the scene Mr Cooke was arrested on foot of an existing warrant.

Gardaí, at the scene, saw him drop his knife into the other man’s hood and they removed it.

The injured man returned home where he called an ambulance and was taken to St Luke’s General Hospital. He was advised to attend Waterford Regional Hospital but didn’t receive treatment there because the delay was extreme and he left. His nose was sore for about a week. He recovered from his injuries.

Included in the money taken from the injured man wallet was 2,000 Indian rupees and approximately €80.
The watch taken was an Armani watch valued at €200. When Mr Cooke was searched at Kilkenny Garda Station he was found in possession of the watch.

When interviewed, Mr Cooke made certain admissions but said effectively the other man was the main assailant.

The injured man declined to make a victim impact statement and was not in court as he is on tour in Europe with his band.
There were 43 previous convictions recorded against Mr Cooke, including for drug offences, assault causing harm, and public order offences.

Barrister Jane McCudden, defending, said the rupees taken from the injured man's wallet were found by gardaí in the second assailant’s home, when searched.

Garda Power said when interviewed the second man said he had ‘an urgent need for money and instigated the attack.’

He agreed with Ms McCudden that the second man told gardaí Mr Cooke did not assault the injured man. The injured man's version of events was ‘quite different’ to the statement of the second man.

Ms McCudden said that in the past Mr Cooke had his fair share of difficulties with intoxicants. When he is sober he does well but when he falls off the wagon he does so quite hard. He was 26 at the time of this offence.

A probation report was prepared for the court. Ms McCudden also handed in a urinalysis report, letters to the court from the defendant and his partner, photographs of his children and letters in relation to medical appointments.

Mr Cooke accepted responsibility for his actions. He was homeless at the time, using drugs and ‘in a very bad way’.
Ms McCudden asked the court to draw a distinction between Mr Cooke and the second man in the case. A sum of €750 was offered to the injured man in compensation, from Mr Cooke.

The barrister said he is now doing well, has two prospective job offers and has successfully completed residential drug rehabilitation. He is attending AA and NA and has the support of his family.
But for his addiction issues Mr Cooke would not be any trouble to the court.

Ms McCudden said it had been a ‘very serious incident, no doubt unpleasant' for the victim’ She asked the court to give her client an opportunity to complete his good work. He could benefit from Probation Service supervision.
Judge Cormac Quinn said he was not going to make any differentiation between Mr Cooke and the second man in terms of culpability.

Aggravating factors in the case were Mr Cooke’s previous convictions for assault. Mitigation factors included his early guilty plea, his moderate risk of reoffending and positive lifestyle effort, which if continued will reduce his risk of reoffending.

A sentence of three and a half years imprisonment was imposed. This is to be suspended in full for three and a half years. Judge Quinn said Mr Cooke had made ‘Trojan efforts’, he is drug free and various services have invested in his rehabilitation.

He was ordered to enter a bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for three and a half years and to be under the supervision of the Probation Service for 18 months.

Judge Quinn said that if the injured party did not want to accept the €750 compensation offered and a charity will be nominated.

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