A man who made menacing phone calls to a stranger, demanding money, has been sentenced to two years in prison.
Patrick Clarke (31) admitted to gardai that he made two calls to Paul Gilmartin but denied the charge of demanding money with menaces.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the two calls were made at a time when the victim was being subjected to a sustained level of threatening calls and messages demanding payment of €60,000.
He received one text message that read: "You've got to pay, I'll cut your balls off."
After a two-day trial, a jury convicted Clarke of making an unwarranted demand with menace on May 10, 2012, with a view to making a gain for himself or another. The jury also found Clarke, of Corduff Place, Blanchardstown, guilty by majority of the same offence on a date after May 10, 2012.
Judge Gerard Griffin jailed him for three-and-a-half years, suspending the final 18 months for two years on strict conditions.
Clarke was arrested after one of the calls was traced to an anonymous SIM card pack bought by him. He told gardai he was asked by a man he did not know to buy the card and that later the same day he was asked to call Mr Gilmartin's number.
The court heard the two men did not know each other. Clarke rang Mr Gilmartin and told him that "we know" where he lived, worked and what car he drove.
Clarke said he made a second call in the following days, telling the victim it was his "last chance" to pay up.
Mr Gilmartin testified that he had been subjected to sustained nuisance calls and texts for weeks before and after the calls from Clarke. There was evidence others were involved.
The calls from a blocked number began on May 8, with the caller demanding €60,000.