Jilted law student (19) avoids jail after enlisting gang to tie up ex and assault him
Nigerian native Jennifer Patrick has since relocated from Longford to the UK and ‘lost all her friends over this’, the court was told
An aspiring law student has been ordered to pay €7,500 in compensation for her part in orchestrating a "hair-brained" and "bizarre" scheme by enlisting a gang of youths to tie her former boyfriend up and violently assault him during the course of an alleged aggravated burglary.
Nineteen-year-old Jennifer Patrick, 6 Dun Darrach, Dublin Road, Longford, told a sitting of how she never believed her actions would go as far as they did following an incident at 2 Holly Green, Clonbalt Woods, Longford on August 20, 2020, which left her former partner Paul Adetunji with injuries to his face and and knee.
Ms Patrick, aged 17 at the time of the offence, was charged with burglary following the incident and making a false statement to gardaí. A nolle prosequi was entered by the State in connection to the latter charge.
The court was told Nigerian native Ms Patrick, who now resides in the UK, had been forced to relocate to the UK due to the breakdown in relationship with her peers and the fact two of her brothers no longer speak to her as a result.
State prosecuting counsel, Shane Geraghty BL, said three co-accused teenagers currently before the courts had pleaded guilty to theft but not to aggravated burglary owing to their insistence no knife was produced in the commission of the offence.
Judge Keenan Johnson was told Ms Patrick had contacted Mr Adejunji on the day in question under the "false pretense" of giving the victim €80.
Mr Geraghty said while Mr Adejunji was left confused by this request, he agreed.
It was revealed Ms Patrick was upset over the recent ending of the pair's relationship and when she arrived at the victim's rented property, the accused intimated to Mr Adetunji that she had to go back outside to retrieve some lipstick and, in so doing, asked for the victim's room key.
When she returned, the court heard Ms Patrick began kissing Mr Adejunji and moments later witnessed three unidentified males enter his bedroom.
Mr Adejunji told gardaí at the time how the trio attacked him and immediately shouted: "Where is the money?".
Despite his own attempts to fend off the gang, Mr Adetunji was forced onto a chair with his hands tied behind his back with black cable ties.
A sock was also placed in the victim's mouth to prevent him from shouting for help, the court heard.
Giving evidence, Detective Garda Orla Geraghty said Mr Adetunji told her during interview how he had been left suspicious by Ms Patrick's demeanor, adding that while she "didn't seem frightened", one of the assailants called her by the teenager's first name.
Detective Garda Geraghty said Mr Adetunji felt he had been "set up" by Ms Patrick.
"He (Mr Adetunji) felt she was faking it," she said.
"He said he was going to the garda station and she said: 'Please don't go' as she would get in trouble."
Mr Adetunji suffered cuts to his lip and an injury to his knee as a consequence of the ordeal, it was revealed.
A voluntary cautioned witness statement was taken from Ms Patrick in August 2020 during which the accused indicated she too had received a punch to the face from one of the men.
She also told gardaí how she had been left distressed following the relationship and how she had been treated.
Det Garda Geraghty said she admitted holding a conversation with one of the co accused, telling him: "I just want him bet."
It was revealed, however, that Ms Patrick never made a complaint to gardai about any "more sinister elements to the relationship".
The court heard on the day of the incident, the three youths arrived in Longford Train Station after travelling from Dublin.
Det Garda Geraghty said she had been left satisfied as to Ms Patrick's level of involvement in the incident.
"As far as I could see, it (incident) was done purposely to make out she (Ms Patrick) was a victim in all of this," she said, adding Ms Patrick was cable tied to the front with Mr Adejunji having his hands tied behind his back.
In defence, Dara Foynes SC said Ms Patrick and Mr Adetunji had since "made peace".
She added her client would suffer a high degree of "social appropbrium" with her name likely to be published and had endured significant hardship in attempting to further her own aspirations as a lawyer.
"She has effectively left Longford and lost all her friends over this," said Ms Foynes.
"She had to cease her college studies because she needed to get garda clearance to continue her studies."
A letter of apology was also handed in, the contents of which Ms Patrick read out in open court.
"To Paul, I am sorry for everything that took place," she said.
"Robbery was never my intention."
Under direct questioning from Judge Johnson, Ms Patrick said it was the toxicity of her relationship with her ex boyfriend which ultimately led to the incident.
"He hurt me a lot and I wanted to hurt him too," she said.
"I have apologised to Paul and we have made peace with each other. I regret it so much. I wish I didn't do what I done. I am just really sorry."
Judge Johnson described the entire planning of the incident from start to finish was "hair-brained" and "one of the most bizarre cases" he has ever come across as a circuit court judge.
He adjourned the case until October 3 and ordered Ms Patrick to return to court with €7,500.
In the event she adheres to those terms, he indicated he would apply Section 1(2) of the Probation Act.
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