Man jailed over role in plot to extort €25,000 from ‘blameless’ family

Pair showed up at family’s home and falsely claimed son owed money over missing drugs

Dylan Cronin (20) has been jailed by a judge at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for his role in a plot to extort €25,000 from a ‘completely blameless’ family. Photograph:  Matt Kavanagh

Dylan Cronin (20) has been jailed by a judge at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for his role in a plot to extort €25,000 from a ‘completely blameless’ family. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

 

A man who took part in an attempt to extort €25,000 from a “completely blameless” family has been jailed for 18 months.

Dylan Cronin (20) and another man went to the family’s home at night and claimed one of the children was involved in drugs that had gone missing. They demanded that the family give them €25,000.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard this claim was entirely false and had been concocted in an attempt to get the money. The pair returned on two further occasions, during which property was damaged and notes demanding the money were left.

Cronin, of Grange Abbey Crescent, Donaghmede, pleaded guilty to three counts of demanding money with menace at an address in Malahide on September 5th, September 8th and September 11th, 2020. He has no previous convictions.

Passing sentence, Judge Patricia Ryan said the demands put an “enormous stress” on the family, who were fearful of what might happen. She said the offences occurred at night at a family home, were planned and involved “veiled threats”.

Payment

Judge Ryan said that while Cronin has said he was coerced, he was to receive €2,000 or €3,000 for being involved and allowed his car to be used.

“It did not happen once, it did not happen twice, it happened three times,” she said, adding that the serious nature of the charge warranted a custodial sentence.

The judge sentenced Cronin to three years imprisonment, but suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions including that he follow all directions of the Probation Service for 18 months after his release.

During a sentencing hearing, Garda Joseph Robinson told Kieran Kelly BL, prosecuting, that on the first date in question Cronin and another man came to the family’s home with their faces covered by scarves.

Garda Robinson t said the other man told the couple living there that one of their children was involved in €50,000 of drugs going missing, along with three other people. The other man told the couple that the other three families had agreed to pay €25,000 and that their child had a debt for the remaining €25,000. He said they did not want to threaten the family, but that they would have to pay the money.

The men left after being told that the family did not have the money. The court heard it is accepted that the child in question had no involvement whatsoever with drugs and this was a story concocted by the men to try to get money.

Windscreen smashed

Garda Robinson said that on the second date in question the man previously threatened by the pair found the window of his car had been broken. He found a handwritten note in his porch area which included a phone number and advice to call it when he had the money.

Three days later the man found another note on the windscreen of his car which said there was “no way out” of this and it was “only going to get worse”.

The man had installed CCTV cameras at his house and gardaí­ were able to identify the Cronin’s car as the number plate was not concealed.

Cronin told gardaí he was persuaded by someone to getting involved in the plot and that his life and those of his family would be in danger if he did not.

He accepted he was one of the pair that spoke to the family on the first occasion. He said he drove to the house on the subsequent occasions, but did not get out.