Man jailed for 5 years for trying to blow up ATM in Cork

An AIB ATM in Dublin, ahead of the Central Bank's publication of forensic stress tests on Irish banks.
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Olivia Kelleher

A 24-year-old man, who searched online to find out how to blow up an ATM using air and gas, could have killed himself and others and caused catastrophic damage to the local community, a court has head.

Evan Stubbins appeared before Cork Circuit Criminal Court, where he was jailed for five years following an incident at an AIB ATM at the Maxol Garage, Carr’s Hill, Carrigaline, Co Cork on August 2nd last.

Mr Stubbins, of Church Road, Croom Co Limerick, pleaded guilty to possessing an oxypropane cutting tool, a lighter and various tools with the intention of endangering life or causing serious injury to property.

He also previously pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to the AIB ATM at the Maxol station shortly after 2am on August 2nd last.

Fascinated with explosives


The court heard that Stubbins, who is fascinated with explosives, had canisters of air and propane gas strapped into the rear of his car when he was caught red-handed by gardaí on patrol.

Officers saw him using a screwdriver to try and jemmy open the ATM at the side of the petrol station.

Det Sgt Chris Cahill said Stubbins tried to run to his car but was apprehended by the officers who had spotted the suspicious behaviour while on patrol.

In the car gardaí found a con saw, a large crowbar and a blow torch attached to two cylinders of gas and air, which Mr Stubbins had planned to use to blow out the ATM from the wall.

Drug debt

When interviewed, Stubbins told gardai he was trying to rob the machine to obtain money to pay off a drug debt. He claimed the location of the ATM was suggested to him by his drug dealer. The drug dealer was not named.

Sgt Cahill told Judge Sean O'Donnabhain that a mechanical engineer examined the canisters. He said that on their own the substances were not explosive.

However, mixed together and combined in a small narrow space in the ATM they would have created a “significant and massive explosion.”


Mr Stubbins had a cigarette lighter on his person. However, Sgt Cahill said it would not have been required to blow up the machine as once the materials were mixed together in the narrow space an explosion was imminent.

Garda Jeremy O'Leary of Togher Garda Station previously told the court of the catastrophe that could have been caused by the "naive" actions of Stubbins.

“The garage was closed but the tanks there contain 30,000 litres of petrol and diesel and there is a house nearby. According to experts, if he had succeeded in doing what he planned, which would have involved mixing the gas and the air, he would have caused a huge explosion.

“It would have had catastrophic consequences for both property and life, including his own – he could potentially have killed himself if he had followed through on what he was planning to do.”


Judge Sean O’Donnabhain described Stubbin’s research into explosives online as “a mishmash of information."

Judge O’Donnabhain said an aggravating factor in the case was that Stubbins had received a suspended sentence in the District Court a week before the ATM incident.

"It is frightening that a young man of 24 would put together such a dangerous concoction for the sole purpose of causing an explosion.’

“He did not seem to realise that no other action or intervention was needed to cause the explosion which would have been set off by science, and events would have overtaken him.”

He jailed Stubbins for five years on the explosives charges imposing two-year sentences on the other two charges to run concurrently.

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