A STUDENT who paid €500 deposit for a room rental advertised online had his money stolen by a 36-year-old man termed “a cyber predator” by a judge at Trim District Court.
It was alleged in court that Keith Stapleton, with an address at River View Court, Oldtown, Co Dublin carried out a deception at Bru na hAbhainn, Navan on 10th August last year by inducing the student to transfer €500 from his Revolut account with the intention of making gain for himself. He was also charged with the theft of the money.
Court Presenter, Sergeant Peter Clarke told the court that the defendant advertised a room to rent. The student contacted him and the rental was agreed. The student then forwarded €500 deposit. After that the defendant cut off all communication with him, the sergeant said.
The court was told defendant had 23 convictions for road traffic offences.
Defending solicitor Miriam Regan said that her client worked in England and had travelled home from the UK for the case. Ms Regan said that he had difficulties with his employer who did not want to give him time off to travel. His earnings in England were £1,100 a week and he had two children aged four and eight.
The court heard that no compensation had been paid. Judge Cormac Dunne said He had 13 months to gather €500”.
The defendant replied that he “wasn’t aware of the situation”. Judge Dunne said: “You got €500 from the victim, a student.
€500 was then handed into court. The judge said, “a cyber predator, that’s what you are.”
“Here we had a young person trying to get an education and a cyber predator like you stole his money. Any family would have had to earn €1,000 in order to gather that money. Then you leave them 13 months without it. It is the lowest form to offence to steal money from a young student. He had zero remorse for 13 months. Now he talks about me, me, me. There is a family down €500 for 13 months. Then you had to sing your song. Well, it won’t be sung in this court”.
Ms Regan said that when her client was interviewed by Gardai he had given a full account of what he had done. He had tried to address his difficulties.
Judge – “£1,100 sterling a week and he couldn’t find €500 in 13 months”.
Sentencing him to six months imprisonment suspended for 12 months, Judge Dunne told him “You’re very lucky you’re not going straight to prison.”