Court told of threats from alleged brothel keeper

 

AN ALLEGED brothel keeper threatened to starve a prostitute unless she brought in more business, it has been claimed at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Mihai Selaru (37), Gateway Crescent, Ballymun, Dublin, is accused of bringing two women from Romania to work as prostitutes, after telling one he was going to get her work as a cleaner.

The Romanian national has pleaded not guilty to organising prostitution, keeping a brothel and living off the proceeds of prostitution from September 3rd-11th, 2009, at an apartment on Liberty Square, James Joyce Street.

Patrick McGrath, prosecuting, said in his opening that the women’s pictures were uploaded to a website called Escort Ireland and clients could phone the women and arrange to meet them for sex.

A 26-year-old Romanian woman told the court that at one point Mr Selaru told her she was scaring clients off because she was crying all the time and that she was bringing bad luck. She said he told her because she was not bringing in any money, he would not give her any food.

She told Mr McGrath she met Mr Selaru through her husband in her home country and he promised to get her a job in Ireland working as a cleaner for €300 a week. She said she came over with another woman who was the girlfriend of Mr Selaru. Mr Selaru had paid for the flights and got them an apartment on James Joyce Street. All the food was bought by him or the other woman and she never left unless she was in the company of one of them.

When she and the other woman had been there a few days a man called Brian came to take their pictures for the escort website and this is when she realised she would be working as a prostitute. She said he took pictures of her in her underwear and topless and she later had to hand over €250 to activate her profile on the site.

A print-out of her profile on the site was presented as an exhibit to the court and she appeared to cry as she identified herself in the pictures. She said soon after her profile went up, a man called her and arranged to come over for sex, he paid €130 for half an hour and gave her an extra €60. Over the next week two more men paid for sex.

She told Mr McGrath that Mr Selaru arrived in the country several days later and demanded all the money the men had given her because she had to repay him for the flights and apartment. She said she handed over all the money except for the extra €60 which she had hidden under her mattress.

The trial continues before Judge Pat McCartan and a jury.