A man who attacked, tied up and robbed an escort in her hotel room has been jailed for four years.
Samuel Pop (27) took part in a robbery during which his co-accused repeatedly assaulted the woman before stripping her of her clothes.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the co-accused in the case has since died while remanded in custody.
Pop with an address at Charnwood Court, Clonsilla, Dublin, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and robbery at Clayton Hotel, Dublin 4, on November 6th, 2019.
He has two previous convictions for handling stolen property and production of an article relating to a similar incident in Roscommon in October 2019 for which he received a 20-month suspended sentence.
Detective Sergeant Raymond Lyons told Kate Egan BL, prosecuting, that the victim had come to this country from the Czech Republic two days prior to the incident in order to work as an escort. She saw a number of clients and was paid in cash.
Det Sgt Lyons said on the night in question, the victim was in her hotel room when there was a knock on the door by the accused man who said he was from reception. Pop pushed the woman against the wall and held her there before letting in another man.
This man, who has since died in custody, produced a knife and put it against the victim's neck. Both men pulled her to the bed with Pop holding her down while his co-accused shouted at her to give them her money and punched her in the face.
The victim showed the men €800 which was hidden in a book, which the men took along with her phone and her passport. Pop held her down again while the co-accused said his boss was downstairs and that they needed more money or they would kill her.
The co-accused tied the victim's earphones around her neck and started hitting her head off the wall while saying he would kill her if she did not give him the code to the hotel safe.
The victim was crying on the floor when the co-accused told her to take off her clothes, before taking them off himself when she refused.
Pop then said she could put her clothes back on and once she had done so he tied her hands behind her back with a phone charger.
As the men were leaving the room, the co-accused told the victim that this was not the end and that they would send somebody up to kill her. She managed to get the attention of other hotel guests by knocking against the partition separating her room from another and gardaí were called.
Pop was identified by gardaí on CCTV footage. Neither he nor his co-accused had permission to be in the hotel and were not guests on the night.
Det Sgt Lyons agreed with Dara Foynes SC, defending, that her client did not act alone and his co-accused was also involved in the matter in Roscommon in October 2019. He agreed the co-accused would be before the court had he not died.
The sergeant agreed that the co-accused was the more “active participant” of the two. He agreed he has received information from colleagues in Romania that the co-accused had been before the courts there for crimes of a similar nature.
He agreed that her client was a man who provided for his family in Romania and tried to make things better for them. He agreed that when you get involved with people like the co-accused “you cannot get out”.
Ms Foynes said her client seems to have been under a degree of pressure from “sinister forces”. She said her client displayed “an astonishingly bad lapse in judgement”.
Counsel said her client had €5,000 before the court as a concrete expression of remorse which the victim was willing to accept.
Judge Martin Nolan said that both men “behaved disgracefully”, but that in all probability the co-accused acted worse.
Judge Nolan said the experience was “terrifying” for the victim and that he was sure at a certain point she thought she was not going to survive this, but “thankfully she did”.
He said the accused is a “competent and hard-working man” and that it was unlikely he would re-offend to this degree in the future.
Judge Nolan sentenced Pop to five-and-a-half years imprisonment, but suspended the final 18 months of the sentence on strict conditions including that the €5,000 be handed over to the victim.