Sunday, March 3, 2024

Ex-LoI ace jailed for harassment campaign on stranger for online female friend

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A FORMER professional footballer who harassed a man he had never met on behalf of a woman he befriended online has been jailed for 16 months.

Rodney de Khors, a retired League of Ireland footballer, put his head in his hands and wept when the sentence was handed down in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today.

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Rodney de Khors was found guilty of harassing a man he had never met for a womanCredit: irishphotodesk.ie

Defence counsel said De Khors thought he was being a ‘good Samaritan’ when he agreed to help the woman – whom he had also never met – to smear the man’s character online over a period of a year.

In a series of posts on Twitter, De Khors labelled the man as a sexual deviant and a predator, as well as a paedophile, the court heard.

He posted doctored images of his victim and tagged the man’s employer in numerous posts between August 2019 and August 2020.

The court heard the victim had been in a relationship with the woman and they had a child together prior to the relationship breaking down.

This woman can’t be named as she is still before the courts, David Staunton BL, prosecuting, told the court.

The court heard the woman got to know De Khors online and told him that the victim was not giving her adequate child support.

Seeking to ingratiate himself with her, De Khors started posting the social media messages about the man, despite never having met him.

In a victim impact statement which he read out in court, the victim said De Khors’ tireless campaign of “horrific allegations” against him had been a “living nightmare”.

He said he was labelled a “paedophile, a sexual predator, a danger to women and children” and that his friends and acquaintances were genuinely concerned for his state of mind as a result of the lies posted online.

He said he had to change career.

De Khors, 54, of Coolevin, Ballybrack, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty to one count of harassing the man on dates between August 12, 2019 and August 31, 2020. He has no previous convictions.

He told gardai he always wanted to be a footballer and people saw him as a hero. “I’m not a hero, I’m a failure,” he told gardaí.

De Khors was a professional footballer for a number of teams in the League of Ireland, including Shamrock Rovers, and has worked since retiring from football.

Judge Martin Nolan handed down a sentence of three years and suspended the final 20 months on a number of conditions.

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