Man who held up Tralee garage with axe has no memory of event

A 41-year-old man who threatened staff at a Tralee petrol station with a long-handled axe and stole over €1000 euro in cash takes full responsibility but has no memory of the incident.

Tralee Circuit Criminal Court heard that Emmet Coffey of 28 Fountain Court, Tralee has a corrosive heroin addiction.

The court was told that despite having 28 previous convictions for criminal damage, theft, public order and drugs, this latest conviction is out of character due to it violent nature.
Garda Mick Dowling told Tralee Circuit Criminal Court that Emmet Coffey entered Kelliher’s Garage in Rathass Tralee at 8.30 on January 1st 2016 with a long-handled axe and with a dark scarf covering his face.

He shouted at a member of staff to empty his pockets and the till.

The staff member pressed the panic button and fled the outside. There was one other member of staff on duty and one member of the public in the shop at the time of the incident.

Mr Coffey used the axe to break the tills and he made off with €1102.82.

The court heard staff were in fear and were left traumatised.

Defence Barrister Richard Liston said that two weeks before the incident Mr Coffey’s brother had died.

Mr Liston said on the day in question Mr Coffey was upset after visiting his GP, who he claims accused him of falsifying a prescription for methadone, which had been reduced.

This encounter was described as the catalyst for the subsequent incident.

After visiting his GP, he went to an off license where he bought two bottles of vodka, he drank one and went to his brother’s grave.

While in Rath Cemetery he saw other men at the graveside of a suicide victim.

They were taking drugs, he took a handful of tablets.

It was after this the incident occurred in Kelliher’s Garage.

Mr Liston said his client has had a tragic life, in 2008 he suffered the death of his baby son and witnessed the murder of his brother in law.

The court also heard he was the victim of sexual abuse as a child.

Judge Thomas O’Donnell remanded Mr Coffey on bail until April third to fix a date for sentencing.