Man jailed for duping rugby official into paying €7k for non-existent Six Nations tickets

ireland
Man Jailed For Duping Rugby Official Into Paying €7K For Non-Existent Six Nations Tickets
A judge has jailed a serial fraudster for duping a 79-year-old rugby club officer to part with €7,610 for 48 Six Nations rugby match tickets that didn't exist. Picture: Eamon Ward.
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Gordon Deegan

A judge has jailed a serial fraudster for duping a 79-year-old rugby club officer to part with €7,610 for 48 Six Nations rugby match tickets that didn't exist.

At Ennis District Court on Wednesday, Judge Mary Larkin jailed Patrick Sheedy (52) for nine months for the three separate deception offences and said that an aggravating factor in the case is Mr Sheedy’s level of recidivism where he already amassed 63 previous convictions under the Theft and Fraud Offences Act.

Mr Sheedy — who has 91 previous convictions in total — is currently serving a three and a half year sentence at Portlaoise prison and before today was not due for release until May 2023.

However, as Mr Sheedy of Cliona Park, Moyross, Limerick committed his latest offences in December 2019 and January 2020 while on bail, the nine-month jail term is consecutive to the three and a half year jail term he is currently serving.

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Mr Sheedy’s life of deception first came to the notice of gardaí 32 years ago in February 1989 where he appeared as a 19-year-old at Limerick District Court on a forgery charge.

In relation to his three latest offences where Judge Larkin imposed a nine-month jail term, Mr Sheedy posed as a person involved with World Rugby and duped an officer at London Irish Amateur rugby club, Peter Whiteside, to pay the €7,610 for the non-existent tickets.

'High and dry'

Mr Whiteside emigrated from Ireland to England over 55 years ago in 1965 and Judge Larkin said that the injured party “had been left high and dry and humiliated by Mr Sheedy’s actions”.

Judge Larkin stated that Mr Whiteside “was a perfectly innocent person who thought he was purchasing tickets for his rugby club”.

The judge stated that Mr Sheedy “is a clever man and was well able to extract the monies”.

Solicitor for Mr Sheedy, Daragh Hassett told the court that Mr Sheedy has “a chronic gambling addiction” and was doing what he did to fulfil his need to get money to gamble.

Mr Hassett told the court: “Your phone is a very dangerous device at the best of times and if it has a gambling App you can place bets on horse racing in Macau, football in Argentina, you name it, you can gamble on it at the click of a button and Mr Sheedy succumbed to that temptation.”

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The solicitor stated that Mr Sheedy “would whittle away his money on gambling on every type of thing you could imagine”. He said as Mr Sheedy is in prison, there is no prospect of the monies being repaid.

He described Mr Sheedy as "a very bright man. That is half his problem. He has an ability to pull off things like this on unsuspecting people and his firm commitment from now is to channel his energies and intellect in a good way and stop this cycle of prison, getting out, getting treatment and unfortunately re-offending”.

Mr Hassett said that behind all of this, Mr Sheedy is a decent man but has been unable to deal with his addiction and Mr Sheedy knows that prison is the best place for him right now.

'Compulsive fraudster'

Prior to Wednesday, Mr Sheedy’s most recent court appearance was at Limerick Circuit Court in April of this year, where he received a six-month jail term for conning prominent horse trainer Michael Hourigan into loaning him a horse box which he then stole.

The court heard that Mr Sheedy phoned Mr Hourigan on May 25th 2017 claiming to be a representative of RTÉ and Horse Racing Ireland.

Mr Sheedy — described at that court hearing as a 'compulsive fraudster' — told Mr Hourigan that he was working on a TV project and required a horse box for filming around Ireland.

Mr Sheedy’s appearance concerning the Six Nation tickets at Ennis District Court is not his first appearance at that court.

In 2016, Judge Patrick Durcan described Mr Sheedy as “a master of deception” when imposing a six-month jail term for a scam where Sheedy defrauded a friend of €4,170.

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