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Two Men To Be Sentenced For Attempted Robbery Of Westmeath Take-Away

A 14-year-old female worker was threatened during the incident.

Two young Westmeath men are to be sentenced later this month for the attempted robbery of a Chinese takeaway in Castlepollard during which a 14-year-old female worker was threatened. 

Dylon Poynton (23) and Craig Reilly (23) both pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted robbery of the Golden Wok restaurant at The Square, Castlepollard on July 14, 2020 at a sitting of Mullingar Circuit Criminal Court. 

Garda Enda Kelly told the court that both accused had been drinking together earlier that day and had entered the restaurant with their faces covered while armed with a knife and a spade. 

Garda Kelly said an internal door on the premises was forced in, while a glass pane in the door was smashed before a 14-year-old girl working in the restaurant was threatened. 

In a victim impact statement, the girl said she had become very anxious following the incident if two or more people tried to come into the restaurant at the same time and she had problems sleeping as well as suffering panic attacks. 

Garda Kelly said Poynton of Church Lane, Moate only admitted his role in the offence during his third interview with gardaí. 

He said the accused had claimed the idea to rob the takeaway was “a spur of the moment idea” although the breaking of the window was an accident, while Reilly had made no admission in relation to the attempted robbery. 

The court heard a knife and spade were subsequently seized during a search of Reilly’s home at Castle Heights, Castlepollard. 

Cross-examined by Gerard Groakre BL for Poynton, Garda Kelly agreed that the incident was fairly brief, while neither accused had any physical contact with their victim.  

Asked by Stephen Byrne BL for Reilly if the offence represented “a moment of madness”, the witness replied: “I accept it to a certain degree but not fully.” 

The court heard both accused had missed appointments with the Probation Service, while the pair also had a number of previous criminal convictions. 

In evidence, Poynton said it had taken him a week and a half to write apologies to both the victim and his probation officer. 

Poynton, who recently began a new job in a sawmill, said: “I’d like to not go to jail. I won’t do anything like that ever again. I’ll do anything that is needed.” 

The court heard Poynton had moved back to live with his mother after his partner had secured a barring order against him. 

Reilly read out an apology in court in which he described his actions as “a silly decision while under the influence” as well as expressing regret for being disrespectful to Chinese people “and their lovely food.” 

“I’d like a chance to prove myself. I was out of order,” he added. 

Reilly described three nights he had spent in custody in a cell in a Garda station after his arrest as “a terrible experience.” 

He did not regard himself and his co-accused as thugs but accepted they had engaged in “thuggish behaviour” 

The court heard Reilly had offers of a job in a pub in England and work on a building site in Mullingar. 

Adjourning sentencing in the case Judge Keenan Johnson said he was unimpressed “with the cavalier approach” of both accused parties to the Probation Service. 

The judge remanded the pair in custody to allow probation reports to be prepared and ordered them to appear in court again on July 29. 

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