Gardaí investigate after tourist robbed by 'man with gun' in Dublin city
Gardaí investigate after tourist robbed by 'man with gun' in Dublin cityThe footage was made public by Liveline on RTÉ Radio One this afternoon.
A DUBLIN man has been charged with the robbery and attempted robbery of Italian tourists in broad daylight near a popular visitor attraction in the city centre.
Paul Heaney (35) is alleged to have been one of two robbers who mugged the teacher and her student after they left the Guinness Storehouse this week.
Dublin District Court was told the second alleged robber, who was not charged, was armed with a gun and when Mr Heaney handed himself in to gardaí, he told them: "I didn't rob anyone" and “that’s not my style”.
Judge Ann Ryan refused Mr Heaney bail following “strenuous” garda objections and remanded him in custody for a week.
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Mr Heaney, of Michael Mallon House, Dublin 8 is accused of robbery and attempted robbery.
The offences are alleged to have happened at Long’s Place in the south city centre on October 21 last.
Garda Stephen Duggan of the divisional crime task force told the court he arrested Mr Heaney for the purpose of charging him at Kevin Street Station at 5.11pm yesterday.
In reply to the first charge, he said: “I didn’t rob anyone.” He made no reply to the second count.
Gda Duggan objected to bail, citing the seriousness of the case and the maximum penalty for robbery on conviction on indictment - life imprisonment.
He said a large group of Italian tourists were walking towards the James’s Luas stop at 6.05pm on Monday, having exited the Guinness Storehouse.
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Silvia Piantoni and a student were at the rear of the group when they were approached by two men, one of whom was in possession of a firearm or imitation firearm.
It was pointed in the direction of the student and money was demanded from him. In fear for his safety, he handed over €60, Gda Duggan said.
The two men then demanded money from Ms Piantoni and she stated that she had no money, the garda continued.
Out of fear for her safety, she offered her mobile phone.
A third tourist became aware of what was happening and ran toward them and the two assailants made good their escape, the court heard.
Mr Heaney presented himself voluntarily at Kevin Street Garda Station on October 23, said he was there about the incident with the gun and stated “it’s not my style”, Gda Duggan said.
The entire incident was captured on high-definition CCTV. The accused told gardaí he was there and gave a description of the clothes he was wearing. He said he was the man with his face covered on the footage and not the one with the firearm, Gda Duggan continued.
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Italian teacher Sylvia Piantoni and a teenage student were set upon by thugs wielding a 'gun'Italian teacher Sylvia Piantoni and a teenage student were set upon by thugs wielding a "gun" near the Guinness Storehouse on Monday.
Mr Heaney admitted burning his clothes, but was wearing the same shoes as were worn in the course of the alleged robbery, the garda said.
Gda Duggan confirmed to defence solicitor Ruth Walsh that Mr Heaney was not the man alleged to have produced the firearm.
“He was as surprised as anybody when the other gentleman produced the firearm,” Ms Walsh said.
Gda Duggan said this was what Mr Heaney stated. He accepted the accused was “not the main protagonist”.
Mr Heaney had got “a little bit in over his head” in the company he kept, Ms Walsh said.
His explanation for burning his clothes was that he was “panicked and terrified”, she said.
Gda Duggan said Mr Heaney gave two explanations - one was that he was afraid the clothes would “give him bad luck” and the other was that he “wanted to destroy the evidence.”
Mr Heaney handed himself in and made a full comment because he “wanted to put his side of the story across to the gardaí”, Ms Walsh said.
The accused was unemployed and had mental health issues, and she had grave concerns about how custody would impact on that.
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Ms Walsh said if refused bail, the accused faced a long time in custody for a case which he would be contesting.
Judge Ryan said Mr Heaney was presumed innocent but she had no doubt it was appropriate to refuse bail.
She remanded him in custody, to appear in Cloverhill District Court on October 30.
She also granted free legal aid.
Dressed in a blue puffer jacket, grey tracksuit bottoms and white runners, Mr Heaney was not required to address the court. The charges are under the Theft and Fraud Offences Act and Common Law.
CCTV footage of the alleged incident emerged during the week which shows two men approach two people on the street, one holding what appears to be a gun in his hand and pointing it.
The woman and male can be seen being backed up against a wall during the confrontation. Before the video ends, they are seen hugging each other after the assailants flee the scene.
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