Ardglass robber given 64-month jail sentence

Ardglass robber given 64-month jail sentence

2 October 2019

A MAN who held a staff member at knifepoint as he carried out a robbery at a shop in Ardglass has been jailed for five years and four months.

Ordering Bradley Hamilton to serve the sentence in custody and the remainder on supervised licence, Judge Geoffrey Miller said it was a “somewhat naive act”.

Downpatrick Crown Court was told last Thursday that the robbery took place a short distance from where Hamilton’s girlfriend lived and that he was known to staff members.

Judge Miller said there were a number of aggravating factors to the case, in particular the use of a knife and that the robbery had taken place at retail premises.

The judge said the starting point for sentencing was eight years, but he would be giving the 19 year-old the “maximum discount” of one third and would not be activating suspended sentences which had been imposed on Hamilton before he carried out the robbery.

Recalling the events, the judge said the robbery took place at the Eurospar shop in Ardglass shortly after 6am on October 22 last year.

Wearing a green parka with the hood only partially covering his face, Hamilton went up to the counter and lifted a bottle of juice. He returned a short time later carrying a knife with a 10-inch blade and shouted: “Hand me over your money. I want it now.”

The panic alarm at the premises was activated as the staff member put cash and cigarettes into a plastic bag before Hamilton made off. The judge said the staff member had been left in a “state of shock”.

The incident had been recorded on CCTV. A short time later police went to the home of Hamilton’s girlfriend where they found a number of items concealed behind the hot press, including cigarettes and blood-stained clothing.

Altogether, police recovered 32 packets of cigarettes and £35 in cash.

The court was told that Hamilton, of Inishargie Gardens, Bangor, had 87 previous convictions and at the time of the robbery was the subject of a number of suspended jail terms.

Judge Miller said a pre-sentence report revealed that Hamilton had a “chaotic lifestyle since adolescence” and was first remanded in custody at the age of 14, but noted that he had been diagnosed with ADHD, depression and insomnia.

The judge referred to a number of medical reports and a letter of apology which Hamilton had written to the court.

“I accept that, not withstanding the serious criminal record, the defendant does not cross the threshold of serious risk, but clearly the custodial threshold has been passed,” he remarked.

“It was a somewhat naive act. He went to a shop where he was known and was found a few hundred yards away at his girlfriend’s home.”

The judge ordered Hamilton to take part in drug and alcohol counselling while in custody and also to “actively take part” in other programmes.