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Wednesday 14 November 2018

Teenage thugs used gay dating app to lure man to beating and robbery

Eoin Rafferty and Joshua Friel used Grindr to attract victim
Eoin Rafferty and Joshua Friel used Grindr to attract victim

Two thugs beat and robbed a man after luring him to Co Donegal on gay dating app Grindr, a court heard yesterday.

Joshua Friel and Eoin Curley Rafferty both pleaded guilty at Letterkenny District Court to robbery, assault causing harm and criminal damage.

The court was told how they beat their victim with a baseball bat and robbed him of cash and a mobile phone in a savage and unprovoked attack.

Their victim, a Chinese national, had been touring with the Mamma Mia! stage show.

Garda Inspector Goretti Sheridan told the court the case was a very unusual one.

At about 11pm on July 12, 2015, Friel (then aged 17) had swapped pictures and phone numbers online with the man.

They arranged to meet, and the victim took a taxi from Derry, where he was staying, and arrived in Newtowncunningham at about 3am.

Remote

He was directed to a remote area known locally as The Castle, where he recognised Friel but was also met by two other men, including Rafferty, and they robbed and beat him.

They accused the man of being a paedophile and also threatened to take the victim's trainers but decided against it.

The men gave him a small amount of cash to get a taxi back to Derry, where he attended Altnagelvin Hospital to be treated for his injuries. As well as bruising and suspected broken ribs, the man had to receive a stitch above his eyebrow.

The victim later contacted gardai and told of his ordeal.

Following an investigation, three men, including Friel and Rafferty, were arrested.

Solicitor Mr Frank Dorrian, who represented both defendants, said the pair, who were accompanied to court by their respective families, took the matter very seriously.

He said he accepted that the victim in the case was not involved in any illegal activity.

However, he said a friend of the two accused had been the victim of a paedophile.

He added that the two men had taken it upon themselves to challenge this man about being there.

The lawyer said that the situation rapidly got out of control, and the man became a victim of robbery and assault.

Mr Dorrian added that the men's parents had been shocked and horrified when they found out what their sons had become involved in.

The court was told that Friel (now 19), of Castle Park, Newtowncunningham, was pleading guilty to robbery, assault causing harm and criminal damage.

Rafferty (18), of Westfield, Newtowncunningham, also pleaded guilty to the same charges.

Judge Paul Kelly adjourned the case until January 29 to allow for a probation and community service report.

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