Tuesday 23 January 2018

Drug addict used by 'more sinister parties' to demand €5k from woman

Judge's gavel.
Judge's gavel.

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Dublin drug addict who was used by “more sinister parties” to demand €5,000 from a woman has received a three year suspended sentence.

Garda Dermot English said that Desmond Russell (44) went to the victim’s home to collect the money after another male had delivered a menacing handwritten letter earlier that day.

Russell, of Rafters Road, Drimnagh, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to demanding money with menaces at the 64-year-old woman’s home on June 15, 2014.

He has 56 previous convictions, including 34 social welfare fraud offences for collecting his brother’s State benefits.

Gda English told Caroline Cummings BL, prosecuting that the  letter referred to the woman’s son and her elderly partner’s van and warned her not to call gardai as her home was being watched.

He said the letter instructed the woman to have €1,000 that evening and the remaining €4,000 the following day for collection.

The man who had delivered the letter, gained access to the house by claiming someone had given him money in an envelope to pass on to the victim.

Russell showed up at the house later that evening and told the woman: “It’s not me, I’m here to collect the money.”

He left when the woman informed him she had already contacted gardai, who were now dealing with the case.

Gda English said the woman’s partner saw Russell telling people in a car that “there’s no fucking money up there” on his way back from the house.

Russell later told gardaí that he had been simply asked to collect the envelope of money.

The garda agreed with Luigi Rea BL, defending, that Russell has no reading or writing skills. Counsel submitted to Judge Martin Nolan that his client was “deeply ashamed of what he did.”

Judge Nolan said he accepted that “more sinister parties” had enlisted the two men to get money off the woman and that the people in the car were probably the “authors of this scheme.”

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