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Men sent scared OAP to ATM for €370 after home scam, court told

TWO men are facing a Circuit Court trial on charges of extorting cash from an elderly woman by demanding payment for work on her driveway, without being invited to carry it out.

Willie McGinley (28) and Simon Doherty (39) were allegedly among three men who ordered the 73-year-old to go to an ATM to get them money for power-washing her drive.

The pair are accused of extortion by demanding with menaces €370 from the woman for the "job" at her home.

A judge refused jurisdiction to deal with the case at Tallaght District Court, saying the allegations were too serious.

They had the charges against them adjourned for the preparation of books of evidence.

McGinley, of Kilmahuddrick Close, and Doherty, of Oldcastle Park, both in Clondalkin, are charged with extortion and deception at St Maelruan's Park, Tallaght, on August 17, 2011.

Sgt Bernard Jones said it would be alleged that the accused were among three men who arrived in a van, entered her front garden with a power-washer and washed her driveway before demanding money.

It would be alleged that they were not invited in; that one went into the back garden of the house and the other two stayed in the front.

"She was in such fear that she went to a cash machine and withdrew €370 and handed it over to them," Sgt Jones alleged.



Sprayed

Judge John Coughlan refused jurisdiction, meaning the case will be sent forward to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, where the potential penalties on conviction are greater.

At a previous court sitting, Garda Kieran Kilcoyne gave evidence that when he was arrested, McGinley's replies to the charges after caution were: "I was only working," and "I was working at the time". Doherty replied: "No comment."

Garda Kilcoyne had alleged at the earlier court sitting: "They showed documents to the elderly lady in question and claimed they were carrying out work on her driveway."

The men made demands of between €240 and €1,600 for carrying out work, he alleged.

Garda Kilcoyne said the alleged victim's driveway was wet, that water had been sprayed on it and "that was the extent" of it.

The court heard it was alleged that the woman was "intimidated and put in fear" to the extent that she was ordered to go to an ATM for cash.

The incident took place over 20 minutes and there was CCTV evidence, the garda said.

Bail had been granted in the accused's own cash bonds of €2,000 for Doherty and €500 for McGinley, on condition that they surrender their passports, reside at the addresses they have provided and observe a curfew and sign on three times per week at their local garda stations.

They were also ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim or any prosecution witnesses.

aphelan@herald.ie


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