A MAN charged with an armed robbery in Letterkenny has been refused bail.

Marcel Piatkowski (27), of no fixed abode, appeared at Letterkenny District Court in connection with an incident at the Spar Express Filling Station in Glencar, Letterkenny on December 27th.

A man, who had a white bandana on his arm concealing a tattoo, entered the premises at around 9.40am and threatened staff with what appeared to be a handgun.

The man fled on foot with a sum of cash and a quantity of cigarettes.

Later that day, Gardaí responded to reports of a theft of a vehicle and intercepted a car in Donegal Town. The car was being driven by Piatkowski and items from the robbery were located in the vehicle.

Garda Padraig McFadden told the court that Piatkowski was ‘caught red handed in a stolen vehicle.’

A handgun was found in the car when Piatkowski was apprehend.

Other items recovered included a backpack, €304 in cash, two packs of 20 Players cigarettes and 24 packs of tobacco.

Gardai also found a white bandana in the car. CCTV from the incident showed a male wearing a white bandana, which covered a distinctive tattoo on Piatkowski’s hand.

Garda Niall McLaughlin said that Piatkowski made full admissions to the robbery in a number of interviews on December 27. Piatkowski disclosed that he had returned to Poland a number of times in the last five years.

After the court sitting on December 28, Garda McLaughlin said he was speaking with Piatkowski on the steps of Carrick-on-Shannon courthouse when the accused told the officer that he would return to Poland ‘if I could get a ticket out if here’.

“That admission, along with the interview, means I believe that he wouldn’t show up to stand trial,” Garda McLaughlin said, adding that it was his opinion that Piatkowski was a ‘significant flight risk’.

Solicitor Mr Donough Cleary said the Gardai were in possession of Piatkowski’s passport.

Garda McLaughlin said it was ‘not difficult’ for Piatkowski to leave the jurisdiction, pointing out that he could leave on a ferry without a passport were bail to be granted.

Piatkowski, dressed in a grey tracksuit and red jacket, addressed the court. He said he undertook to show up for hearings as directed by the court.

He said: “Now is lockdown. How  do I get to Poland?”

Piatkowski said he was working in a dairy factory in Convoy until two-and-a-half years ago and was now in receipt of social welfare.

The accused said he suffered from depressed and did not have an address as he was no longer welcome at a friend’s house, where he had been staying.

Mr Cleary said his client had the presumption of innocence. Piatkowski, he said, lived in Ireland since 2016, has no warrant history and has two children who reside in this jurisdiction.

Piatkowski faces a number of charges including robbery, assault, three counts of making threats to kill and the theft of a vehicle from an address in Ballybofey

Judge Paul Kelly, noting that Piatkowski faces the possibility of up to life imprisonment as a sentence, refused bail as the accused did not have a fixed abode and he was satisfied that Piatkowski was a flight risk.

Piatkowski was remanded in custody to appear via video link to Letterkenny District Court on January 18.


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