Monday 22 January 2018

Son of prostitute-ring boss jailed for running city brothels

Brian Kavanagh and Tom Brady

A man was jailed yesterday for running a network of brothels in Dublin -- seven years after his father was convicted of organising prostitution.

The two men and an associate were netting an estimated €2,500 a month from the brothels and another €150,000 a month from internet advertising of an escort service.

Mark McCormick (26), of Ballaghbeg Park, Newcastle, Co Down, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years' imprisonment at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

He was described in court as being "at the top of the ladder" in an organised prostitution ring that spanned the breadth of Dublin city.

In May 2003, his father, Peter McCormick (51), a former RUC reservist, who was then living at Lawnswood Grove, Stillorgan, Dublin, but originally from Larne, Co Antrim, was given a two-year suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to organising prostitution between September 10, 1999, and April 14, 2000.

Profitable

Yesterday, Mark McCormick pleaded guilty to seven counts of acting or assisting in the management of a brothel at six locations in Dublin city on various dates between November 6, 2005, and April 3, 2006.

Judge Tony Hunt called it an "operation of sophistication and detailed advanced planning".

He noted it was a profitable business, as demonstrated by a spreadsheet found that showed profits of €220,000 to be split between three people.

He said McCormick used his computer knowledge to set up the brothel and "structured his part in the operation to remain as much as possible in the shadows".

The judge said it stood in the accused's favour that there was no human trafficking or abuse of women involved and that customers and workers were willing participants.

He also took into account McCormick's late guilty plea and suspended the final 14 months of the sentence

A co-accused, Duane Killen (37) of Oldtown Road, Annalong, Newry, was given a suspended sentence last March for his role in renting Dublin apartments to be used as brothels.

Detective Garda Larry Duggan told Sean Guerin, prosecuting, that McCormick was among the subjects of a garda investigation, known as Operation Quest, into the online advertisement of prostitution.

He said that as part of their inquiries, gardai raided a number of premises, including apartments on Bachelors Walk and in Herbert Park, and placed several people under surveillance, including McCormick.

On March 8, 2006, McCormick was brought to Store Street garda station after he was observed having lunch with Mr Killen and taking a brown envelope from him.

During an interview with McCormick, gardai obtained a key for an apartment at the Gasworks building on South Lotts Road, which Det Gda Duggan described as the "nerve centre" of the operation. McCormick had previously been observed entering the building.

At the apartment, gardai found a laptop computer that was open and logged on to an Irish escorts website.

Det Gda Duggan said the laptop contained a manual with instructions on how to run a brothel, which was saved under the moniker 'Bible'. Fingerprints found on the laptop matched those of McCormick.

Irish Independent

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