Paul Kennedy jailed over Belfast convenience store robbery


A man who survived a gun attack at a bookmakers in south Belfast was handed a seven-year sentence on Friday after he was found guilty of a robbing a convenience store.

Paul Kennedy – who was injured in a shooting at the Sean Graham bookmakers on the Ormeau Road in 1992 which claimed the lives of his cousin and uncle – denied he was the man who targeted a shop on December 28, 2012.

However, following a trial held at Belfast Crown Court, Kennedy was found guilty by a jury earlier this year on a charge of robbery and was sentenced for the offence on Friday.

Kennedy, 39, from Windrush Avenue in Belfast was handed a seven-year sentence by Judge David McFarland, who told him he would spend half of the sentence in prison, with the remaining three-and-a-half years on supervised licence when he is released from custody.

The judge also spoke of the lasting effect the robbery has had on the female shop assistant.

During the trial, the jury was shown CCTV footage of the robbery, which occurred at the Day Today store on the Lower Ormeau Road.

Kennedy entered the store with the hood of his coat partially covering his face.

He gave the impression he had something in his pocket during the robbery, and netted around £600 and a quantity of cigarettes.

Despite denying he was the robber, Kennedy was subsequently identified by both the female shop assistant and a police officer who viewed the footage.

The court heard Kennedy has 71 previous criminal convictions.

Defence barrister Denis Boyd told the court that Kennedy suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder due to “traumatic experiences he suffered in the early and middle part of the Troubles”.

These included his father losing an arm in an attack on a pub, and he himself being shot in a gun attack at Sean Graham bookmakers in 1992.

This shooting, which claimed the lives of five people including his uncle and cousin, has had a “traumatic and continuing affect on him”.

Passing sentence, Judge McFarland said that after hearing the shop assistance give evidence over two years after the robbery during the trial, it was clear she was still affected by the incident.