Robbers who falsely accused a man of being a paedophile before coercing him into handing over money have been jailed for over eight and a half years between them.
Lewis O’Brien, Steven Cotter and Cameron Oakes singled out the victim in Chatham in November 2019 and subjected him to a prolonged period of verbal and physical abuse before stealing £75.
All three men admitted robbery and were sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Tuesday 14 July 2020.
The three offenders targeted the victim inside the toilet of a restaurant off Chatham High Street, where they harassed and physically abused him.
During this timeframe the victim was punched, falsely accused of indecent behaviour and filmed on a mobile phone.
The offenders then threatened to share the video on social media, unless money was handed over.
The victim initially gave them £15 but, upon noticing he was carrying a bank card, the offenders demanded more cash and walked him to a nearby cash machine.
As they walked to the ATM, the offenders called the victim a paedophile in front of several members of the public before £60 was withdrawn in exchange for them leaving him alone.
Detectives from the Chief Constable’s Crime Squad were able to review CCTV from several different sources and within two days had identified each of the offenders. O’Brien and Cotter were arrested a short time later and Oakes was detained by the Metropolitan Police at London Victoria Station on 6 December after attempting to evade capture.
- Cotter, 30, of Windmill Road, Chatham, was sentenced to three years and two months.
- O’Brien, 29, of no fixed address, was sentenced to three years and two months. He was also sentenced to 80 days, which will be served consecutively, for breaching an unrelated suspended sentence.
- Oakes, 21, of no fixed address, was sentenced to two years and four months.
Detective Constable Rebecca Howlett, Kent Police’s investigating officer for the case, said: ‘These men singled out a man who they identified as being vulnerable and subjected him to a degrading and distressing ordeal.
‘The allegations they made against the victim had no substance, yet they used them to humiliate him in public and coerce him into handing over money.
‘Their offending is further aggravated by the fact they were caught on CCTV laughing, behaviour which clearly shows they got a perverse sense of enjoyment out of the suffering they were causing.
‘Their actions were entirely reprehensible and I am pleased we have secured justice for the victim.’