Two circus workers were abducted when they came on a promotional visit to Limerick, a court heard.
One feared for his life when he was told by one of his abductors that they were in his city and he was a member of the IRA.
John Sheehy, aged 21, of St Munchin’s Avenue, St Mary’s Park, was jailed yesterday for five years at Limerick Circuit Court for his part in what Judge Tom O’Donnell described as “a premeditated and extremely violent, frightening” escapade.
Two Englishmen, Darren Jack and Dean Mignowelli, promotion workers with Circus Vegas, met up with a group of men while out socialising in Limerick on February 1, 2014.
They were lured to a house in Johnsgate village.
Mr Mignowelli managed to make his escape and returned to the B&B where he and Mr Jack were staying.
Mr Jack was then questioned by his abductors about his bank account and they became violent.
He pleaded for his life for the sake of his wife and children as he was convinced he was going to be killed.
He was brought to a petrol station and told to withdraw money. However, he ran and hailed a taxi which brought him to a Garda station.
Sheehy when arrested, made admissions and had been in custody since March 2014. He pleaded guilty to charges of false imprisonment and robbery.
Sheehy pleaded guilty to charges of false imprisonment and robbery relating to the incident in the early hours of February 1, 2014.
During a sentencing hearing, Det Garda Barry O’Grady said the victims —both aged in their 20s — had arrived in Limerick the previous day as they were part of the marketing and promotions team attached to Circus Vegas.
While out socialising in the city centre, they encountered a number of local youths including the defendant. There was some “chat and banter” between the men and the youths who said they would bring them to a local nightclub.
However, the men were instead taken, under false pretence, to the rear of a house at Johnsgate village where they were forced into a garden shed and threatened.
Det Garda O’Grady told John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that while the investigation remains open Sheehy is the only person to have been charged — largely as a result of admissions he made following his arrest.
Judge Tom O’Donnell was told the incident was “extremely terrifying” for the two victims who returned home the day after the incident. Sentencing Sheehy to five years, Judge O’Donnell said the facts of the case were thoroughly bizarre.
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