Drunken east Belfast robber had branch in his mouth

Court
Court

An east Belfast man who robbed an off-licence at knifepoint and with a branch sticking out of his month has been jailed for two years.

William McGreevy, a 39-year-old father of two from Strandburn Park, appeared at Belfast Crown Court on four charges dating back to June 14 last year.

McGreevy – who at the time of the offences was intoxicated and under the influence of prescription drugs – will spend an additional two years on supervised licence when he is released from prison.

In what the prosecution described as an “unusual” case, McGreevy stole £260 in cash and £818-worth of cigarettes and alcohol from the off-licence on the Belmont Road.

Earlier he had stood in a queue at a nearby Tesco store and produced the knife from his pocket then replaced it a number of times.

After the robbery he got into the car of a Chinese restaurant delivery driver he knew. He threatened the driver, who, feeling intimidated, drove him the short distance home.

Officers viewed CCTV footage from Tesco and McGreevy was recognised and arrested.

During interview, he said he had been drinking in the Welders Club on the afternoon of June 14 where he had consumed around 10 pints.

He subsequently pleaded guilty to four charges – two counts of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place, robbery and hijacking.

Defence barrister Kelly Doherty revealed her client had a long issue with alcohol, especially during times of stress, which has brought him before the court in the past.

Branding McGreevy’s offending as unsophisticated, Ms Doherty said her client accepted this must have been a terrifying experience for the staff concerned, who thankfully were not injured.

Talking about the effect a prison sentence would have both on him and his family, Ms Doherty said McGreevy “accepts fully his responsibility” for the impact his actions will have both on the members of staff and his relatives.

Ms Doherty added he had expressed remorse and regret for doing what he did.

Telling the court her client’s behaviour on the evening in question was “not normal”, Ms Doherty revealed McGreevy was “disgusted with the manner in which he conducted himself”.