One of Sean Rausch's victims bought him a chicken roll and a soft drink in Centra after he was threatened by him, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.
Rausch (22) told the 19-year-old victim that he was carrying out the robbery because he was hungry. He said he was sorry he had to threaten him but he believed the victim would not have given him anything otherwise.
Rausch wrote a letter of apology to the court in which he said he had been asking people on the street for help and they passed him by. He said he felt bad about making his victims afraid.
Rausch, of Cushlawn Park, Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty to two robberies and false imprisonment at Wellington Quay and Aston Quay on February 7th, 2020. He has no recorded convictions.
Judge Karen O'Connor suspended the final year of a four-year prison term on condition that Rausch engage with the Probation Service and with a victim awareness programme.
She said she was taking into consideration his youth and lack of relevant convictions at the time.
Garda Fionnula Lawlor told Tony McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, that Rausch first took part in the robbery of a 19-year-old Latvian student that morning with a co-accused in which the victim described Rausch holding a blade inches from his face.
The scared young man, who said he felt his life would be taken at any moment, handed over his wallet and ran from the scene. He described how he no longer feels safe in the city centre.
Gda Lawlor said Rausch later took part in a second robbery of another 19-year-old man.
This victim described how Rausch approached him and put his arm around him. He saw Rausch had a knife and told him he did not have money but that they could go to Centra and get something.
He said he wanted to give Rausch something so he would not do anything to him.
Rausch put the knife away and proceeded to tell the young man about his life and how bad it was. The victim still felt threatened and afraid about what Rausch was going to do.
He said he noticed a second man watching and thought he might be a back-up but Rausch said he was not with him.
The victim said they walked into Centra with Rausch talking “as if we were best mates” about how bad his life was and saying if had not threatened him he would not have got anything.
Rausch told him: “Sorry about this I am just hungry”, but the victim still felt threatened and was aware Rausch still had the knife.
He bought a chicken roll and a soft drink. Rausch thanked him and walked out of the shop.
Rausch, who was caught on CCTV on both occasions, was later arrested
Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, said Rausch had grown up in chaotic home situation and drugs had been very much a feature of his life.
He said his client had suffered the bereavement of two family members and his behaviour deteriorated to the point where he was put out of his home by his mother. He lost his job and no longer received his social welfare payments.
Counsel said Rausch found himself homeless living in an underground car park for three to four weeks prior to these offences. He also had a drug problem which he could no longer fund.
Mr Le Vert said Rausch had written a letter of apology in which he outlined that he was robbing for food and drugs and felt “so bad” about putting people in fear.
He said prior to the robberies he had been asking people passing on the street to help him but most people had just walked past him and that was why he committed these offences.
Rausch said he wanted to build a different life and he was not a bad person, it was just a bad time in his life. “I am here today to own up to my mistakes and get a fresh start in life,” he wrote.