News Courts

Monday 22 September 2014

Robbers used schoolgirl (17) to 'honeytrap' their victims

John Fallon

Published 11/03/2014 | 02:30

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Jack Thame being led out of Roscommon court yesterday (Monday). Photo: David Walsh
Jack Thame being led out of Roscommon court yesterday
Jonathan Fitzpatrick. Photo: David Walsh

A GANG of three young men and a teenage girl are to be sentenced for luring men to a remote area using a dating website and putting them in fear of their lives before robbing them.

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Roscommon Circuit Court heard that two men from Dublin were lured when the 17-year-old schoolgirl, who cannot be named, posted her profile on a website seeking liaisons with men.

Judge Tony Hunt heard that one man from Dublin got in touch with the girl, who used the name 'Emma' on the website. After several messages were exchanged between them, she invited him to meet her on June 18 last year in Strokestown in Co Roscommon.

And using a profile name 'Amber', she told another man from Dublin a week later who got in touch that she was "up for anything". The schoolgirl posted two profile photographs.

Judge Hunt said that the gang, all of whom pleaded guilty to false imprisonment as well as variety of theft charges, exploited gullible men.

Before the court were Jack Thame (20), Jonathan Fitzpatrick (19) and Anthony Carolan (21), all from Strokestown in Co Roscommon. All three pleaded guilty to the false imprisonment, assault and robbery of the first man on June 18 last year, while Thame and Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty to the charges in relation to the second man a week later.

The schoolgirl also pleaded guilty to the charges in relation to both men. She will be sentenced next week, along with Carolan. Both were remanded on bail. Thame and Fitzpatrick were remanded in custody and will be sentenced on May 26.

The court was told that the first victim was given detailed instructions on where to go to meet the girl, but when he arrived at the remote location near Strokestown at around 9.30pm, a man appeared and asked him what he was doing with his sister. A number of other men appeared armed with a baton, a hammer and a baseball bat. The victim was attacked and hit over the head, had his hands tied behind his back and his head covered.

His wallet and iPhone were taken and he gave the gang his PIN number. He was bundled into the boot of his own car and taken to a forest before one of the gang went to an ATM to withdraw money.

The gang member returned a couple of hours later without getting any money. A handgun was produced and the victim was taken to an ATM but he could not get any money out either.

ALCOHOL

The gang members had consumed alcohol and he was later allowed drive away. He did not report the matter for some time to the gardai.

Judge Hunt was told that in the second incident another man from Dublin drove to Strokestown to meet 'Amber' and was given specific directions to go to a remote area.

He knew the young woman from her website profile photographs, but a number of men appeared and attacked him. He told gardai that he thought the men, who had a hammer and other weapons including a handgun, were going to kill him. They demanded his wallet and PIN number and they later got €600 from his account – but other attempts to withdraw money failed.

Carolan and girl, neither of whom have any previous convictions, will be sentenced next week. Thame, who has seven previous convictions, and Fitzpatrick, who has none, will be sentenced on May 26.

Irish Independent

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