A man who assaulted, tied up and robbed an escort in their hotel room has been detained for four years.
Samuel Pop, 27, took part in a robbery in which his co-defendant repeatedly attacked the woman before stripping her of her clothes.
The Dublin Circuit Criminal Court learned that the co-defendant in the case has since died in custody.
Pop, with an address at Charnwood Court, Clonsilla, Dublin, pleaded guilty on November 6, 2019 at the Clayton Hotel, Dublin 4.
He has two previous convictions for handling stolen property and submitting an article related to a similar incident in Roscommon in October 2019 for which he received a 20-month suspended sentence.
Det Sgt Raymond Lyons told Kate Egan BL that the victim had come to that country from the Czech Republic two days before the incident to work as an escort. She saw a number of customers and was paid for in cash.
Det Sgt Lyons said on the night in question the victim was in her hotel room when the defendant knocked on the door, who said he was from the front desk. Pop pushed the woman against the wall and held her there before letting another man in.
This man, who has since died, pulled out a knife and placed it against the victim’s neck. Both men dragged her to the bed while Pop held her while his co-defendant yelled at her to give them their money and slapped her face.
The victim showed the men € 800 hidden in a book that the men took along with their phone and passport. Pop held them again while the co-defendant said his boss was downstairs and they needed more money or they were going to kill them.
The co-defendant tied the victim’s headphones around her neck and began beating her head off the wall while saying he would kill her if she didn’t give him the hotel safe code.
The victim cried on the floor when the co-defendant told her to undress before undressing herself when she refused.
Pop then said she could get dressed again and when she did he tied her hands behind her back with a phone charger.
As the men left the room, the co-defendant told the victim that this was not the end and that they would send someone up to kill them. She managed to get the attention of other hotel guests by knocking on the partition that separated her room from another and being called gardaíwere.
Pop was identified by gardaí in CCTV footage. Neither he nor his co-defendant were allowed to be in the hotel and were not guests that night.
Det Sgt Lyons agreed with Dara Foynes SC, defending that her client did not act alone and that his co-defendant was also involved in the matter in Roscommon in October 2019. He agreed that the co-defendant would be on trial if he hadn’t died.
The sergeant agreed that the co-defendant was the “more active participant” of the two. He agreed that he had received information from colleagues in Romania that the co-defendant had been on trial for similar crimes.
Ms. Foynes said that her client appears to have been under some pressure from “dark forces”. She said he had “made an amazingly bad mistake of judgment”.
The lawyer said her client had € 5,000 in court as a concrete expression of remorse that the victim was willing to accept.
Judge Martin Nolan said both men “behaved in a shameful manner” but the co-defendant most likely acted worse.
Judge Nolan said the experience was “terrifying” for the victim and he was certain that at one point she thought she would not survive, but “luckily she did”.
Judge Nolan sentenced Pop to 5½ years in prison but suspended the last 18 months on severe terms, including handing over the € 5,000 to the victim.