Homeless man attempts robbery to get back into prison

Ilac Centre. Pic: Google Maps

A Sligo man who has spent 28 years in prison has been jailed again for attempting to rob a teenage shop attendant.

John Egan (aged 50) told Judge Patrick McCartan that he was homeless and desperate when he went into the store and committed the offence so he would be arrested and imprisoned.

Judge McCartan recalled that he personally knew a man who used to put a brick through a window to be put back into custody, whereas Egan “invariably” targets young single women for the same purpose.

Egan, a native of Sligo, with an address at Oliver Bond Street, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempted robbery at Euro Store, Ilac Centre Dublin on June 15, 2013.

The same judge had imposed a seven-year sentence with consecutive elements on Egan in 2008 for a spate of robberies, attempted robberies and an assault on a woman.

He had suspended the final three years on strict conditions.

Egan took the stand in court to apologise to Judge McCartan and to the victim in his latest crime. He explained that he had been on the streets for a week leading up to the offence and thought “being put into custody would be the best thing for me.”

He said he tried very hard for 15 months “out there” but relapsed on alcohol and was “full of fear for the future”.

His defence counsel, Marie Torrens BL, submitted to Judge McCartan that Egan had been the black sheep of his family and that all the other members were high achievers.

Judge McCartan said he had suspended three years of his last sentence in the hope Egan would “mature a little bit and learn some skills” in the community.

He commented that although Egan appeared in court softly spoken and apologetic, the probation reports suggested he had been uncooperative. He remarked that Egan had also been a long time heroin abuser.

The judge said the case was sad, but he had to protect the community.

“The system is a brutal one, but it’s there for a reason,” the judge said.

He reactivated the three-year suspended portion of the previous sentence and imposed a consecutive four year sentence for the latest attempted robbery.

He suspended the final three years of this new sentence and wished Egan good luck.

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