Published: 18:11, 14 July 2020
| Updated: 18:23, 14 July 2020
Three yobs frogmarched a man out of a McDonald's toilet and then ordered him to withdraw cash from his bank as they falsely branded him a paedophile.
The robbery in November last year happened after the terrified victim was attacked in the fast food restaurant in Chatham High Street.
One of the trio took a photo as the man sat on the loo and then punched him - threatening to publicise the photo unless he handed over cash.
Prosecutor Craig Evans told Maidstone Crown Court how the victim at first offered £15 in cash but the three wanted "a score each".
Some of the incident was caught on the restaurant's CCTV cameras and shown in court.
It showed the man being led to a nearby ATM and a further £60 was withdrawn when the three men - who were with female friends - then shared it out.
As they marched him to the cash machine, the group called their victim a paedophile in front of several members of the public.
Judge Julian Smith told lawyers for Lewis O'Brien, 29, Steven Cotter, 29, and Cameron Oakes, 21 that the "false allegations" should be no part of the mitigation.
He said: "There is no justification for these allegations and there is no moral high ground to be taken even if they believed the lies."
Father-of-three O'Brien, of no fixed address was was jailed for 38 months and ordered to serve another 80 days for breaching an earlier suspended sentence.
Fork lift driver Cotter, of Windmill Road, Gillingham, received a 38 month jail sentence and Oakes, of no fixed address, was jailed for 28 months.
All three admitted the robbery which took place at the takeaway restaurant on November 24 last year.
The judge also ordered them to stay away from the victim in future or face up to five more years in jail.
Mr Evans said after taking the photograph as the victim sat on the toilet, they threatened to put it on Facebook unless he handed over money.
The victim said he was left so frightened after the incident that he wanted to avoid go into Chatham because he no longer felt safe.
Defence barrister Ian Foinette said Oakes had been struggling with a drug problem and had now written a letter of apology.
"He accepts it was disgraceful behaviour," Mr Fointette told the court.
Judge Smith said the three had humiliated their victim and then extorted cash.
Within two days, detectives had identified the three men as suspects from CCTV footage.
"These men singled out a man who they identified as being vulnerable and subjected him to a degrading and distressing ordeal"
O’Brien and Cotter were arrested while Oakes was detained by the Metropolitan Police at London Victoria Station on December 6 after attempting to evade capture.
DC Rebecca Howlett, investigating officer for Kent Police, 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."
More by this authorPaul Hooper
This website and its associated newspaper are members of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO)