A CONMAN who pretended to be a doctor to avoid paying his bill for staying at a south Dublin hotel for a week has been jailed for six months.
John Wilkins (62) ran up a bill of more than €1,200 while he was a guest at the Dublin 4 hotel.
He was "known to Interpol" and had committed similar offences abroad before he was caught and arrested here, a court heard.
Dublin District Court was told Wilkins deceived hotel staff into providing accommodation and meals, claiming he was a consultant gynaecologist at a city hospital.
He failed to pay the bill and was later arrested.
Wilkins, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to one count of deception by inducing the general manager of the Sandymount Hotel to provide accommodation and services totalling €1,263.
The crime, under Section 6 of the Theft and Fraud Offences Act, happened between last May 19 and 25.
Det Gda Bryan Hunt of Irishtown Garda Station said the accused checked into the hotel in Ballsbridge, telling staff he was a doctor at St Vincent's Hospital.
Wilkins was in a wheelchair at the time.
He ran up the bill which he failed to pay and his deception was later discovered by staff and the gardai were notified.
The court heard Wilkins had prior convictions for offences including making off without payment for services.
He admitted the offence when apprehended and was on remand in the medical wing of a prison before he appeared in court.
Wilkins suffered from chronic heart disease and was taking 12 tablets a day for his condition, his lawyer said.
The defendant was originally from the UK and he had previously been employed in Vienna.
Wilkins maintained he was in Ireland to visit his niece, a medical student whose mother had recently died.
He had some cash on him when apprehended, but this was because he wanted to keep money on him for medicine because of his condition, his lawyer told the court.
This was why he left without paying.
He had pleaded guilty to the offence at the earliest opportunity.
Det Gda Hunt said the accused had used a number of identities and had changed his name several times over recent years.
He was known to Interpol and was living from one hotel to the next.
"I don't for a minute believe he is in this country to visit his niece," Gda Hunt said.
Judge Michael Walsh jailed the defendant "with immediate effect".