Woman’s terror after armed raider puts gun to her head

November 19, 2021

A woman has told how she suffers from panic attacks and took a stroke after an armed robber put a gun to her head and told her he would kill her.

Terrified Dina Doherty was working at the Spar Express Filling Station at Glencar in Letterkenny on December 27th last year when an armed raider burst in around 9.30am.

Marcel Piatkowski was armed with a small black gun and a schoolbag and told Ms Doherty and her colleague Nigel Flood to fill the bag.

Mr Flood initially tried to take the gun from the raider but Ms Doherty told him just to fill the bag.

More than €600 in cash was placed in the bag and the raider then ordered the staff to put bags of tobacco into the bag.

Gardai immediately viewed CCTV footage of the raid and put out a description of the raider to all Gardai in the county.

A car was later stolen in Ballybofey around 10.50am and the description of the raider matched the armed robber.

Gardai on patrol in Tullyearl, Donegal Town later spotted the stolen Vauxhall Insignia and Piatkowski was arrested.

The 28-year-old Polish national appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court where he pleaded guilty to armed robbery.

A victim impact statement read out on behalf of Ms Doherty retold the terrifying events of the morning of the raid.

She said that she initially took a week off work but every time she closed her eyes, tears ran down her face and she constantly thought about the raid happening again.

She has attended hospital on seven occasions after she suffered panic attacks and even had a mini stroke.

She said “I really did believe it was real gun and he would use it. He had his hand on the trigger and I was petrified.”

She continues to pass out and is awaiting counselling and added “I hope nobody else has to go through what I did. I will never get over it.”

A Garda ballistics report later showed the weapon was actually an air-gun which resembled a Glock pistol.

Barrister for the accused Mr Peter Nolan said his client had been suffering form mental health issues and only discharged himself from psychiatric care 10 days previously.

His father died when he was a child and he had been raised by his mother who also suffered mental health issues which had effected him badly.

He came to Ireland in 2016 but was simply trying to put enough money together to return to Poland when he decided to rob the petrol station.

Mr Nolan described the raid as a “ham fisted effort” as he was known to the people in the garage and that he now expected a custodial sentence as a result.

However, Mr Nolan added that on the day his client had taken prescription medication and Red Bull and was not thinking straight.

He pleaded with Judge John Aylmer to be as lenient as he possibly could be.

The case was adjourned to the Donegal Town Circuit Court on December 7th for final sentencing.