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Robber tells police ‘fair play you got me’ after local chemist robbery

Serial armed robber ‘had a wish to get back to prison’

By Kieran Hughes

A serial armed robber from Ardoyne had a “wish to get back to prison” when he robbed a Carrickhill pharmacy last year, a judge has said. Mark Patrick Paul Toal (27), who used to live in Velsheda Park, was jailed for seven years for robbing the Medicare Pharmacy at Carrickhill in July 2011, when he appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Friday (February 24).

Judge Patrick Lynch said Toal’s record, which included six robberies within two days in 2004, was “absolutely appalling”.

Prosecution barrister David Russell told the court heard that at around 8.55am on July 6 last year Toal entered the Carrickhill pharmacy with a pair of tights pulled over his head.

He was brandishing a bread knife and he ordered the pharmacist to hand over diazepam and temazepam and cash.

Toal then threatened the pharmacist saying: “Don’t tell the police, I know where you live”.

He left the shop with a quantity of tablets and £40 in cash but was apprehended by police a short time later.

When he was arrested he told police, “fair play, you got me”. He also told police that he carried out the robbery because he “was under stress”.

Mr Russell said Toal’s family had been threatened because he owed money to drug dealers.

Defence barrister Neil Fox said his client had turned to robberies because of unpaid debts to drug dealers.

Sentencing Toal Judge Lynch said there was “almost a wish that you would get back to prison”. He added that Toal’s “use of drugs has continued unabated for ten years” and he had a “lack of structure” in his life and his continued offending was a “result of alcohol and drug use”.

He added that the courts are at pains to protect small businesses owners.

“It was an extremely frightening experience for the person involved. That sort of behaviour cannot be tolerated,” he said, adding that the only mitigating factor was that “no actual harm was perpetrated on the injured party”.


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