A member of a ‘honey trap’ gang who robbed two men after luring them to a remote location, has narrowly escaped a lengthy term in prison.
Jonathan Fitzpatrick was part of the gang of four who used a dating website to get the men to travel to a location in Roscommon before putting them in fear of their lives.
Fitzpatrick, aged 19, from Strokestown, admitted charges of detaining both men without their consent, threatening to kill or cause serious injury to one of the men, and allowing himself to be carried in a stolen car.
The offences took place on June 18 and 25 last year.
A previous sitting of Roscommon Circuit Court heard that two men from Dublin had separately been lured west after a 17-year-old schoolgirl posted her profile on a website seeking liaisons with men.
One of the men, who is from Dublin, got in touch with the girl, who used the name ‘Emma’ on the site, and after several messages were exchanged, she invited him to meet her on June 18 last year in Strokestown.
Using the name ‘Amber’, she told another man from Dublin a week later who had got in touch that she was “up for anything”. The schoolgirl posted two profile photographs.
Fitzpatrick, the girl, and two others all pleaded guilty to false imprisonment as well as a variety of theft charges. They had exploited gullible men, court heard.
The men had been expecting some kind of sexual encounter, but instead were subjected to assault, false imprisonment, and robbery.
Yesterday, Judge Tony Hunt was told that Fitzpatrick — the final member of the gang to be sentenced — had spent 10 weeks in prison earlier this year while awaiting sentence. “I wanted him to have a look at custody and see what’s waiting for him if there’s a repetition,” the judge said.
A Probation Service report on Fitzpatrick was positive, the court heard, and he had an unblemished record up to the time of this conviction.
Judge Hunt imposed sentences totalling four years, but suspended the balance of the term for two-and-a-half years on Fitzpatrick entering into a bond to comply with the directions of the Probation Service.
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