Muff Robbers who were ‘high on blues’ sentenced to six months

Two Derry men charged with the robbery of a petrol station in Muff this weekend have been sentenced to six months detention.

Steve Smith, 22, from 32 Bradley Way, Derry and Mark Villa, 18, from 75 Marianus Park, Hazelbank Derry pleaded guilty to robbery at Carndonagh District Court.

The court heard how Smith and Villa threatened two petrol pump attendants at Donaghey’s Garage, Muff with a penknife and a large chain, before making off with £350 and €320 in cash on Saturday evening.

Following a chase with Gardai, the defendants crashed at Birdstown, Burnfoot and made off through fields, before being apprehended and subsequently arrested.

Both defendants were on bail from Derry Court at the time of the robbery and Smith had been wearing an electronic tag.

Dave Donaghey, owner of the Muff fuel station, said the two men went to “extreme lengths” and were very “intimidating” towards his staff members who, he said, “were only trying to do an honest days work”.

Mr Donaghey said his employees, who were present with him court and aged 21 and 16 years of age, were traumatised following the robbery.

Defence solicitor Ciaran McLochliann said his two clients had been high on diazepam at the time of the incident and while they didn’t have “much recoglition”, they were extremely sorry to the young men for their ordeal.

Judge Paul Kelly said, while he accepted their early plea and remorse, this was an “appalling crime” and he had no choice but to exercise the full power of the court.

He sentenced Smith to six months imprisonment and Villa, six months detention.