Sunday 23 April 2017

Man who held prostitute against her will and robbed her of over €1,700 is jailed for five years

Gediminas Zigmantas (35) pleaded guilty to robbery of the escort
Gediminas Zigmantas (35) pleaded guilty to robbery of the escort
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

A LITHUANIAN man who held a prostitute against her will and robbed her of over €1,700 in cash has been jailed for five years.

Gediminas Zigmantas (35) who pleaded guilty to robbery of the escort was sentenced to six years with one suspended at Galway Circuit Court.

Mr Zigmantas, who is already serving two concurrent sentences for similar offences in Clare and Cork, made contact with the women through the website Escort Ireland.

The former mechanic, with a former address of Elm Park, Wilton, Cork, met the Romanian woman who was working as an escort, on May 11 of last year in a hotel in Galway city.

The court heard that Zigmantas, a father-of-three, had met the woman through the Escort Ireland website. After meeting in the Radisson Blu hotel room Zigmantas paid for the service and subsequently left the room.

However, he returned a short time later claiming he had left his mobile phone in the room. After the woman allowed him into the room and offered to ring the phone he told her there was no need and immediately opened the door for a second man.

The escort was pinned to the bed and tied up while the pair ransacked the hotel room. They stole €1,700 in cash, an iPad, toiletries and cigarettes.

As they fled the room, the woman managed to loosen the ties and rushed after them. She pointed the defendant out to hotel staff, however, he was not apprehended at that time.

Zigmantas was also seen on CCTV leaving the room with the iPad while a forensic search of the hotel room found DNA evidence tying him to the incident.

Garda Dermot Hardiman told the court that the defendant was wanted in relation to similar offences around the country. He was later arrested in Cork in June of last year.

The court heard that the victim in this case did not respond to gardai requests to provide a victim impact statement.

The court heard that Zigmantas had two previous convictions for similar offences carried out in 2013 and 2014.

In Cork he robbed and falsely imprisoned a Russian prostitute in a room in the Metropole Hotel, stealing €4,000 in cash and other items in November 2013. While in Clare in March 2014 he robbed another prostitute of €100 and an iPod, leaving her gagged and bound in the Treacy’s West County hotel room.

He is currently serving an eight-year sentence for the Cork incident with a concurrent five-year sentence for the Clare incident.

The court heard Zigmantas has one child in Lithuania and two more children in Ireland. His relationship with the children’s mother broke down after his arrest as he didn’t want to expose his children to prison.

Counsel for the defendant said he accepted he had behaved indefensibly. Zigmantas has been in custody since June of last year and is working as a cook and taking classes in prison.

Judge Rory McCabe said he made no moral observations as to the circumstances in which the offence occurred but said people were entitled to conduct their lives without expecting this to happen to them.

“This was mean, it was nasty, frightening and inexcusable,” he said, adding that the crimes were pre-meditated in that there was a pattern.

He imposed a six year sentence and suspended the final year for three years. The sentence will run concurrently with those Zigmantas is already serving.

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