Fraudster Michael Troy Cremin well known to Cork gardaí
‘Fantasist’ who conned woman out of life savings had harassment and assault convictions
Sandra Burch, who was conned out of £92,000 by Cork man Michael Troy Cremin. Cremin has been sentenced to eight years at Bristol Crown Court after being found guilty of six counts of fraud and one of pretending to be a barrister. Photograph: Gloucestershire Police/PA Wire
Cork man Michael Troy Cremin was jailed in the UK last week for eight years for a series of frauds including conning a terminally ill woman out of her life savings. The offence shocked many but came as no surprise to those in Cork who have crossed paths with him over the last 20 years.
Cremin (41), who comes from a middle-class background in Douglas, is not a stereotypical criminal but became a familiar face to gardaí, members of the legal profession and the judiciary in Cork.
He first came to public notice in 1998 when he was convicted of assault causing harm to two men – Raymond Barry and Thomas Healy – in a row over a love interest. The two sustained stab wounds in an incident at Castleview, Conna in east Cork on June 9th, 1996.
Cremin was sentenced to 2½ years in jail but he appealed and a retrial was ordered. The case never proceeded as witnesses had left the country, and Cremin walked free from court. This experience left him embittered towards the criminal justice system and he vented his ire in a series of letters to the Irish Examiner in which he rounded on judges and gardaí for what he saw as a failure to properly administer justice.
“The accused person nowadays must first prove that they are innocent and then prove that they are not guilty,” he wrote in a 1999 letter, in which he added that judges were enforcing their own morals rather than the law.
Cremin’s sense of being hard done by was further fuelled in 2004 after his next-door neighbours, Tony and Eileen Hartigan of Ardarrig, Carrigaline Road in Douglas, brought a civil claim for damages against him and his parents, Noel and Maureen, who countersued the Hartigans.
The row arose from a dispute over parking before escalating to the point where Cremin destroyed roses and poured oil on shrubs belonging to the Hartigans. He also erected CCTV looking into the garden.
Awarding the Hartigans €4,000 in damages and dismissing the Cremins’ counterclaim, Judge Patrick Moran laid most of the blame at Michael Troy Cremin’s feet. “He is of an age now where he should doing something other than harassing, intimidating and threatening the Hartigans. He should grow up.”
In October 2004, Cremin was jailed for five months for harassing the Hartigans. He had instructed his then girlfriend Rachel Bradfield to forge a letter purporting to be from the Revenue Commissioners which he sent to the Hartigans.
Less than a year later, Ms Bradfield made a complaint that Cremin assaulted her and he was jailed for six months.
He blamed gardaí for his conviction for harassing the Hartigans and, in April 2005, he failed in an attempt to take a private prosecution for perjury against Det John O’Riordan, who had investigated the incident .
Seven months later he tried to bring a private prosecution against Sgt Tom Ryan alleging that he had assaulted him by catching him by the arm when serving him a summons. The case was thrown out by Judge Con O’Leary, who said there was a “history of some resentment” on Cremin’s part over his treatment by gardaí.
Cremin at one point placed Douglas Garda station under surveillance and, taking details of the cars entering the staff car park, he went to the motor tax office at Cork County Hall to get home addresses to personally serve writs and summonses on gardaí.
These writs led to a High Court appearance in 2005 when the various recipients including gardaí, barristers, his former girlfriend and a judge sought, and obtained, an order preventing him from issuing them further writs.
By then, Cremin, who had obtained a law degree via a correspondence course, was a familiar figure in the various courts in Cork representing himself and turning up in a three-piece suit complete with a prominently displayed fob watch – looking like an aspiring Rumpole of the Bailey.
He disappeared from Cork in the late 2000s but, as one garda observed this week, “Troy was always going to surface again.”
He did so in notable style with his convictions for fraud, including conning cancer sufferer Sandra Burch (51) out of her £92,000 life savings. Cremin, who had presented himself as a lawyer and advocate, falsely claimed to have a law degree from the University of London. He was convicted of six counts of fraud and one of impersonating a barrister.
Bristol Crown Court judge Michael Longman said Cremin had used “bluff and bluster” to defraud his victims. He told the Corkman that “during all your offending, you portrayed yourself as a person of more substance than you are”.
Back in Cork, one retired officer read the court report with interest.
“I thought Det Sgt Dave Fryatt of Gloucestershire Police summed Troy up well when he said he was ‘a fantasist and vindictive when challenged’. That’s Troy down to a T, because he is completely lacking in empathy – for anyone.”