Two men lured robbery victim using gay website

Chinese man assaulted in remote area of Co Donegal following encounter on Grindr

Two men beat and robbed another man after luring him to Co Donegal on a gay dating website.

The two men appeared at Letterkenny District Court where they pleaded guilty to robbery, assault causing harm and criminal damage.

Joshua Friel and Eoin Curley Rafferty beat their victim with a baseball bat and robbed him of cash and a mobile phone during a savage and unprovoked attack.

Inspector Goretti Sheridan told the court that the case was a very unusual one as she gave details of the attack. The victim, a Chinese national, had been touring with the Mamma Mia stage show.


Friel, then aged 17, arranged a meeting with the victim on the gay dating website Grindr.

Friel had swapped pictures and phone numbers online with the man at around 11pm on July 12th, 2015 and told the victim he was 17.

They arranged to meet and the man took a taxi from Derry, where he was staying, and arrived in Newtowncunningham at about 3am with a view to meeting up with Friel.

He was directed to a remote area known locally as The Castle where he recognised Friel. However, two other young men then emerged and all three, including Friel and Rafferty, 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 the victim 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 man later contacted gardai and following an investigation, three men including Friel and Rafferty were arrested.

Solicitor for both men, Frank Dorrian, said his clients, who were accompanied to court by their respective families, took the matter very seriously.

He said he accepted 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 and that the two men had taken upon themselves to challenge this man about being there.

He added that the situation rapidly became out of control and the man became a victory of robbery and assault.

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

The court was told that Friel, now aged 19, of Castle Park, Newtowncunningham, had pleaded guilty to robbery, assault causing harm and criminal damage.

Rafferty, now aged 18, of Westfield, Newtowncunningham, also pleaded guilty to the same charges.

Judge Paul Kelly adjourned the case until January 29th next to allow for a Probation and Community Service report.