A criminal who escaped to Holland after stealing Rolex and Cartier watches worth more than £95,000 from Hartmann Jewellers in Galway has been brought back to Ireland and sentenced to 10 years in jail.
It has taken more than four years to secure a conviction against Irish watch thief Eugene Cullen, a 29-year-old from Crumlin in Dublin, who pleaded guilty to stealing eighteen Cartier watches and twenty nine Rolex watches from Hartmann Jewellers on November 28, 2008.
Cullen had originally denied any involvement in the crime when he first appeared in court in 2009 and then when he was released on bail he absconded to Holland. He was later found and brought back to Ireland to stand trial in December last year at which point he changed his plea to guilty.
The attack on Hartmann Jewellers was a particularly savage one, during which staff members were threatened with guns fitted with silencers and iron bars. The raid was carried out by a gang of three men, all wearing balaclavas.
Hartman Jewellers' staff member Cathriona Hartman managed to raise the alarm during the robbery, pressing a panic button and shouting for help despite having a gun thrust in her face. One staff member was trampled on during the attack.
Cullen has now been sentenced to 10 years in prison, which has been backdated to May 5, 2012. He has 77 previous convictions and is currently serving a five-year sentence for robbery.