An armed robber who put the gun to the head of a shop assistant and told her he would kill her has been jailed for four and a half years.
Marcel Piatkowski burst into the Spar Express Filling Station at Glencar in Letterkenny on December 27th last year.
He was armed with an imitation Glock pistol and a schoolbag.
He told terrified shop assistant Dina 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.
The case was adjourned for the submission of another victim impact report and to allow consideration of sentence by Judge Aylmer.
Before sentencing the court was told that Piatkowski planned to return immediately to his native Poland upon his release from jail.
Judge Aylmer put the charge sin the mid range of such offences but noted Piatkowski’s early guilty plea, his remorse, his difficulties with substance abuse and also his childhood issues.
He jailed him for a total of four and a half years and backdated the sentence to when Piatkowski went into custody 11 months ago.