A Lithuanian man who is already in jail for robbing prostitutes in Cork and Clare, was given a concurrent six-year sentence for robbing another prostitute in Galway.
Gediminas Zigmantas (35) pleaded guilty at Galway Circuit Criminal Court to the robbery of €1,700 cash, an iPad and perfume from a Romanian woman (24) at The Radisson Blu Hotel on Lough Atalia Road in Galway on May 11th of last year.
The plea to the robbery charge was acceptable to the State on the basis that facts in a second charge, of falsely imprisoning the woman on the same occasion, were admitted.
Garda Dermot Hardiman gave evidence that he went to the hotel that day where the victim told him she was working as an escort in Galway city and had set up an appointment with the accused through Escorts Ireland.
The accused had sex with the woman in a room at the hotel, paid and left. He then returned and said he has left his mobile phone in the room. She let him into the room and offered to ring his mobile number to locate the phone. He told her there was no need as he let another man into the room behind him.
The woman said she was pinned down on the bed and tied up. Both men ransacked the room, stealing her iPad, €1,700 cash, cigarettes, toiletries and a bottle of perfume. Both men then ran from the scene.
The woman freed herself and ran after them, pointing them out to the hotel receptionist. Gardaí in Galway were already aware that colleagues in other parts of the country were looking for a man who was robbing prostitutes in a similar way.
They viewed the hotel’s CCTV which captured Zigmantas leaving the woman’s room with her iPad. He was arrested on June 16th in Cork and charged for similar type offences there. Gardaí in Ennis were also looking for him at the time.
Garda Hardiman said he had made every attempt since to contact the victim by phone and email but she had not replied and he did not have a victim impact statement to give to the court.
Zigmantas, he said, had travelled in and out of Ireland a lot last year. He has a child in Lithuania and two more with a different woman in Ireland. He received an eight-year sentence at Cork Circuit Court on April 28th last for falsely imprisoning a woman on November 20th, 2013.
He received a five-year sentence at Ennis Circuit Court a week earlier for robbery of another prostitute on March 6th last year, along with a concurrent five-year sentence for false imprisonment with the final eight months suspended.
Judge Rory McCabe said he would make no moral observations about the circumstances in which this offence occurred but people, he said, did not expect to be treated in this way.
“This was mean, nasty, frightening and inexcusable,” Judge McCabe said.
He noted the offence in Galway was premeditated and there was a pattern to it as similar modus operandi had been used by the accused in Cork and Ennis previously.
He sentenced Zigmantas to six years in prison with the final year suspended. The sentence is to run concurrently to the other sentences already being served.