Seven years for addict who held knife to neck of terrified Burger King worker and threatened chipper staff with meat cleaver
30th November 2022
An armed robber who held knives to the neck of victims during a crime spree has been jailed for seven years.
Mark Rooney (49) of Premier Square, Finglas, north Dublin, was armed with a meat cleaver when he went into a chipper in Finglas, on the evening of November 18, 2019, and shouted at staff demanding money.
On January 19, 2021 Rooney went into a Burger King in Clearwater, Finglas armed with a small knife. He jumped over the counter and held the knife to the neck of the young man working there.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the victim was very scared and felt the raider pressing the knife to his neck and asking him to open the till.
The victim said he didn’t have the keys to do that and Rooney pushed the man face down to the ground and the victim felt something sharp on his back. Rooney managed to get the till loose and ran away with it.
A short time later two local youths came back with the till. Rooney had left his mobile phone behind and gardaí recognised him from a photograph on the screen of the phone. The court heard Rooney had recently called gardaí to report a burglary to his home.
Gardaí arrested Rooney and admitted his role in the raid and said he was sorry for scaring the victim. He was released on bail pending prosecution and was on bail six months later when he tried to rob a pharmacy in the city centre.
On July 13, 2021, Rooney entered Lloyds pharmacy on Parnell Street and held a knife to the throat of a security guard. He demanded money but the guard grabbed the knife handle and managed to get Rooney out of the shop.
Judge Orla Crowe said the guard had acted with absolute bravery in fending off the armed raider. Gardaí spotted Rooney a short time later in the city centre but was deemed medically unfit for interview.
The next day, he was questioned and told gardaí he had taken 20 Xanax tablets. The court heard the father of three has ten previous convictions for robbery and 13 for drug offences but there was a gap in his offending from 2012 to the time of these offences.
He pleaded guilty earlier this year to attempted robbery on November 18, 2019, and robbery on January 19, 2021 and attempted robbery on July 13, 2021.
The court heard Rooney previously had a serious drug addiction and that in 2019 he suffered a “catastrophic relapse”. Judge Crowe said these were serious offences and noted the serious impact on the young man working in the Burger King.
She said she also had to take into consideration mitigating factors such as his admissions to gardaí, his early pleas of guilty and his huge drug problem. The Probation Service have put him at a high risk of reoffending but are willing to work with him towards rehabilitation.
Judge Crowe imposed a total sentence of eight years with the final year suspended for four years on condition he engage with the Probation Service drug addiction service.