A man who previously won best dog handler at Crufts has been jailed for three knifepoint muggings.
Michael Geoghegan (36) also threatened to stab a garda who chased him down after the muggings in Swords, north Dublin.
Geoghegan of Ormond View, Swords Manor, Swords pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three counts of robbery and production of a knife at Rathbeale Road, Swords on August 18th last year.
He also admitted producing a large kitchen knife to intimidate and producing an iron drill bit and knife, while resisting arrest.
The court heard Detective Sergeant Alan Flaherty eventually disarmed him using his baton.
Talent with animals
Passing sentence on Friday, Judge Patricia Ryan sentenced Geoghegan to four years imprisonment, but suspended the final year of the sentence on strict conditions including that he follow all directions of the Probation Service for six months post-release.
At a previous sentencing hearing, Annette Kealy BL, defending, told the court that Geoghegan had some talent with animals and that in his youth he had won an award at Crufts for best dog handler.
She said Geoghegan had begun using drugs in his early teens and was addicted to heroin by 16. He was attempting to deal with his drug problems but had relapsed a number of times, she said.
She said Geoghegan had stayed off drugs since these robberies.
The court heard that after his arrest, gardaí believed he was medically unfit to be interviewed. He later told investigators that he couldn't remember anything about the offending but admitted it was him on the CCTV footage from the area.
Detective Garda Warren O'Sullivan told the court that Geoghegan carried out the robberies on three random women at about 9am.
The first victim, who worked as a care assistant, was walking to a house for a care visit when Geoghegan came up behind her and put his arm around her neck. He said, “give me your money, I want paper not coins.” She saw the blade of a knife in his hand and gave him some cash, the court heard.
Dt Gda O'Sullivan told Ms Kealy that he accepted that her client was genuinely sorry for these offences.
Geoghegan has one previous conviction for robbery with an imitation firearm committed in 2005. He has 52 previous convictions, including convictions for theft and drug offences.
The court heard Geoghegan had handed over the sum of €2,500 as a practical gesture of remorse which was to be divided among the civilian victims of the muggings.