'reprehensible' | 

Gambling addict extorted €14,000 from his victims after threatening to ‘expose’ them

John Buckley AKA Maughan threatened one man in his 60s that he would tell his family that he was a paedophile, the court heard.

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Jessica Magee and Fiona FergusonSunday World

A gambler who harassed four people and extorted thousands of euro from them to feed his addiction has been given a five year sentence.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard John Buckley AKA Maughan (28) had extorted money from his victims by threatening to “expose” them in various ways on social media.

John Buckley AKA Maughan, with an address at Danes Court, Lusk, pleaded guilty to sample counts from a total of 94 charges, including four of harassment and the remainder of making demands with menaces in relation to four named victims.

At a hearing on Thursday, the court heard that Maughan extorted a total of over €14,000 from the victims, all of which they transferred into his account with Boyle Sports gambling company.

The offences took place at various locations within north County Dublin on dates between January 2017 and August 2018.

Maughan threatened one man in his 60s that he would tell his family that he was a paedophile, the court heard. He then made further threats to the man's wife and son that he would share these untrue allegations on social media and send them to other family members.

Prosecuting Garda Michael Owen told the court these allegations were “without any foundation whatsoever.”

In a separate series of offences carried out in June, July and August of 2018, Maughan threatened a woman with whom he had a fling that he would send intimate photos of her to her boyfriend, the court heard. He also harassed and extorted €2,000 from this woman.

Passing sentence on Friday, Judge Martin Nolan said Maughan had caused huge trauma and distress to his victims.

He noted the threat in relation making an allegation that one of the victims was a paedophile was “hugely insidious and damaging” and he could not imagine a more serious allegation.

He said it was “morally reprehensible” and Maughan was extremely culpable for what he had done.

Judge Nolan noted in relation to threatening to send photos of the woman that it appeared Maughan had little or no conscience or morality at all.

He said it was an unusual case and hard to know where to start with sentencing.

He noted in mitigation that Maughan was remorseful and had engaged in this behaviour as a way to deal with his gambling debts. He noted Maughan's guilty plea and co-operation.

He said however that the victims had behaved well towards Maughan and had endured huge trauma as a result of their involvement with him.

Judge Nolan imposed concurrent sentences totalling five years and ordered Maughan to have no contact with any of the injured parties for 20 years.

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