A teenager has been sentenced to eight months in prison for duping three people into lodging money into his bank account for non-existent One Directions tickets which he advertised for sale on the DoneDeal website.
Dean McKeown (19), of 14 Fana Glas, Ballybane, pleaded not guilty at Galway District Court this week to charges under the Theft and Fraud Offences Act.
Three people gave evidence they had responded to a advert on the Done Deal website between December 12 and 14 last year, which advertised six One Direction tickets for sale.
One woman said she knew the tickets were already sold out but she rang the number of the advertiser given on the website and bought the tickets over the phone.
All of the witnesses said they lodged varying amounts of money into McKeown’s bank account but never received the tickets. They had tried to contact the mobile number given in the advert but it was never answered in some cases and, in one instance, one of the victims was told McKeown was in hospital and that had caused the delay in sending her the tickets.
All of the victims contacted Gardai when the tickets never arrived and they realised they had been duped.
One victim said he had lodged €320 to McKeown’s account for three tickets.
A woman said she lodged €480 for six tickets, while another woman said she lodged €325 for four tickets and had even transferred €5 to McKeown’s account so that he could send the tickets to her by registered post.
Garda Jason Kelly said a third woman had rang him from Cork to say she was ill and could not attend court. Charges relating to her case were struck out as she was not present in court to give evidence.
Garda Kelly said he contacted the bank and received a printout of all transactions relating to McKeown’s bank account.
The records showed the monies from the three victims had all gone into his account and had been withdrawn almost immediately.
The male victim was the first to contact Gardai and McKeown was arrested and interviewed last January in relation to that.
He said he didn’t have a clue how the money got into his account and that someone else must have used his account.
He claimed to have lost his bank card and someone must have used it, but he didn’t know how they got his PIN.
Garda Kelly said that when the other three victims made complaints, he again arrested and interviewed McKeown on May 6.
On that occasion, McKeown told Garda Kelly his PIN and account number were with the bank card he had lost.
He said he had closed the bank account when he noticed the transactions and he reported the matter to the bank.
He also claimed he had never placed a advert on Done Deal and he was not the person who had spoken to the victims who rang the mobile number given on the website.
Garda Kelly said the phone number could not be traced as the user had used a ‘pay as you go” SIM card, which could be bought in any shop and could be easily discarded afterwards.
“An advert can be placed directly on the Done Deal website using this type of SIM and the price of the advert is taken from the credit on the phone. It cannot be traced,” Garda Kelly explained.
McKeown said in evidence he lost his bank card on a night out and his account number and PIN were with it.
Judge Mary Fahy said that normally, when a person loses their bank card, money is taken out of their account.
“I never heard of money going in. If someone got my card, I wouldn’t mind if they put money in my account,” she joked.
Insp Mick Dwyer said McKeown was fully aware and complicit in what was going on.
Judge Fahy agreed and she convicted McKeown, sentencing him to a total of eight months in prison. Leave to appeal was granted.
Man in his 70s killed in South Galway crash
A man in his 70s has died following a crash in South Galway on Tuesday afternoon.
Gardaí are currently at the scene of the two-car crash, which occurred at around 3.35pm on the N18 at Kiltartan.
The driver and sole occupant of one of the vehicles, a man in his 70s, was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was taken to University Hospital Galway where a post-mortem examination will be conducted at a later date.
The driver and sole occupant of the other vehicle involved, a man in his 30s, was taken to University Hospital Galway for treatment of his injuries which are believed to be non-life threatening.
The road is currently closed and will be closed overnight awaiting an examination by Garda Forensic Collision Investigators have been requested.
Gardaí have appealed for any witnesses or road users with dash cam footage to contact them.
Schools and colleges in Galway advised to close for Storm Barra
Schools in Galway have begun informing parents that they will not open tomorrow, following advice from the Department of Education.
The Dept said this evening that schools, colleges and universities in areas where a Status Orange or Red warning apply for Storm Barra should not open.
A spokesperson said: “Met Éireann has advised that there is a strong possibility that the status of parts of these counties currently in Status Orange are likely to change and escalate to Status Red.
“Due to the significant nature of Storm Barra, as forecast by Met Éireann and to give sufficient notice to institutions of further and higher education, the department is advising that all universities, colleges and further education facilities covered by the Red Alert and Orange warning from Met Éireann should not open tomorrow, 7 December.
“All schools and third level institutions should keep up-to-date with the current weather warnings which are carried on all national and local news bulletins and in particular any change in the status warning for their area.”
Emergency accommodation for rough sleepers in Galway during Storm Barra
Arrangements have been made to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers ahead of Storm Barra hitting Galway in the morning.
Accommodation will be provided at locations including The Glenoaks in the Westside, the Fairgreen in the city centre and Osterley Lodge in Salthill (Contact 085 8009709 or 085 8009641).
The COPE Galway Day Centre will remain open all day Tuesday from 8.30am to closing.
Meanwhile, Galway City Council has warned that a number of roads may be closed in the morning ahead of high tide, including Salthill Prom.
Following ongoing meetings of the Inter-Agency Co-ordination group today and based on the latest information available, a number of precautionary measures have been put in place.
- Closure of Silverstrand Beach at 6pm Monday
- Closure of Ballyloughane Beach at midnight (Local Traffic only)
- Closure of Rosshill Road at 6am Tuesday
- Closure of Salthill Promenade at midnight:
- Blackrock Tower to Seapoint and onto Grattan Road. (Closure of Grattan Road may be required. Monitoring in place to decide.)
- Potential closure of roads along the Claddagh, Docks and Spanish Arch from 5am Tuesday
A spokesperson said: “There may be further closures throughout the city as required and the situation will be closely monitored and regular updates given. Motorists will experience delays as a result.”
The carparks at Toft Park and on the Promenade have been closed and all vehicle owners have been asked to move their vehicles from car parks and along the Prom.
Sand bags are now available at the following manned locations: the former Tourist Kiosk in Salthill (behind Seapoint); Claddagh Hall; Galway Fire Station; Spanish Arch; the Docks (beside the pedestrian crossing at St Nicholas Street).
“Anyone who avails of sandbags should retain them in their possession for use throughout the upcoming winter season. Please do not take any more sandbags than you need,” the Council spokesperson said.
“The main impacts will include strong winds, falling trees and potential flooding. High tide in Galway Bay will be at 6.45am Tuesday.
“Some trees may be compromised due to saturated soils at the moment, and with more rain forecast with Storm Barra some disruption due to falling trees/branches is likely. Heavy rain, coupled with falling leaves may block drains and gullies, leading to surface flooding. Galway City Council staff have been carrying out drainage maintenance across the city in advance of the storm to minimise potential flooding risks.
“Storm Barra will produce significant swell, high waves and sizeable storm surges. This will lead to wave overtopping, some coastal flooding and damage, especially along western and southern coasts,” the Council said.
Business owners and homeowners are advised to check their own drains and secure any loose objects within their property in advance of the warning taking effect.
“Galway City Council advises remaining indoors during the period of the warning and, as always, to avoid coastal areas. Parks and other wooded areas should also be avoided, due to the danger of falling trees. If absolutely essential to travel, please exercise extreme caution out and about especially on coastal roads and exposed shores.
“City Council staff will be on standby for clean-up following the passing of Storm Barra and the associated warning once it has been deemed safe to do so. Please note the associated clean-up which will commence on Wednesday morning may impact on traffic.”
Galway City Council Customer Services phone lines are available to deal with emergency calls on 091 536400. For the Galway County Council area, the phone number is 091 509069.