Revealed: Londonderry thug Robert Gannon who got mere six months for knifing mum has a history of weapons offences

A man who knifed his mother multiple times in the neck, yet received a jail term of a mere six months, already had an extensive criminal record.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 10:47 am
The PSNI

The News Letter has learned that Robert Gannon’s previous convictions include multiple counts of wielding weapons.

The confirmation of Gannon’s wider criminal history comes after the News Letter carried a report about his most recent conviction on the front page of Monday’s paper.

It stated that not only did Londonderry Crown Court recorder Judge Philip Babington impose a prison sentence of just six months for malicious wounding (with 18 on licence), but the PSNI press office thought this was a good thing, and issued a statement warmly welcoming it.

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The statement said: “[We] hope this sentencing sends out a clear message to anyone who thinks they can get away with this type of crime.

“We will work tirelessly to bring offenders before the courts so that victims receive the justice they deserve.”

Gannon, aged 34 and with an address at Dunvale Close in north-west Londonderry, carried out the stabbing attack on his mother Vivienne on July 6 last year, at her own house in Duncreggan Road in the city.

A court hearing was told she staggered around in the street, soaked in blood, and a neighbour raised the alarm.

Officers found her son literally red-handed at the scene, and communicated with him via an open window.

The court heard he refused to co-operate with them without a police negotiator and armed himself with a hammer, but ultimately gave in.

During police interview, Gannon said “no comment”.

The court heard his only response had been to grin.

He had been on bail at the time of his offence, too.

Now the News Letter can reveal his prior offences include:

>> Possession of a blade in September 2017 (jail term of three months, suspended for 18 months, which he breached)

>> Another conviction for carrying a knife, February 2018 in Londonderry city;

>> Possession of cannabis and diazepam on same date

>> Possession of an offensive weapon, this time a hammer, June 2019, and criminal damage to his mother’s house (a further charge of assaulting her ended up being withdrawn)

>> May 2020, criminal damage to a G4S tag.

These are not all his prior offences in Northern Ireland, merely a selection.

And on top of that he has other convictions in Dublin.

Vivienne Gannon has since died, for reasons unrelated to her son’s attack, says the PPS.

In response to the idea that the sentence is too short, the Lord Chief Justice’s office said the judge would have considered “a range of factors” and that in this case it had been “clear that probation feel a period of intense community-based supervision may both protect the public, and perhaps rehabilitate the defendant”.

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