A convicted sex offender described as a "Walter Mitty character" who posed as a prostitute to dupe unsuspecting men into paying him for sex has been jailed for 18 months.
Antrim Crown Court heard that Scott Tootill also incited one girl to become a sex worker and arranged for men to visit escorts at a hotel in Limavady, his home town.
The 29-year-old, from Meadowvale Park, admitted three counts of controlling the prostitution of 'Toni' and 'Kelly/Cindi' for gain and inciting 'Sarah F' to become a prostitute.
He pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud by false representation, in that he posed as escorts - 'sinner Stephanie' and 'Katie and Jess' - for hire in an effort to dupe unsuspecting men in February last year.
Tootill also confessed to two charges of breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order by having mobile phones at his home and five further counts of breaching the requirements of the sex offenders' register. The court heard how the PSNI searched Tootill's house after an off-duty officer reported he had witnessed him breaching court orders by having a mobile phone.
When the PSNI attended his address, they discovered he had two mobiles.
He handed one over and the other was found behind a chest of drawers.
Prosecuting QC Tessa Kitson said Tootill accepted he used fake names and posed as a prostitute "to financially exploit victims".
"He advertised himself on adult websites under the guise of female names to attract potential clients for sexual services... who would be expected to forward financial transactions to his bank account as directed, but when the money was transferred, there would not be any sexual service," the lawyer said.
The court heard how Tootill contacted women working as prostitutes and "invited them to work at a hotel in Limavady" where he booked a room and arranged for clients to visit them.
The defendant told officers that while the women charged £100, "he would be paid £20". The court heard on one occasion that nine men had been lined up by Tootill, but the escort was "fast asleep in the room" so they all left.
According to the Crown case, the defendant "had some sort of relationship" with Sarah F, and during an online conversation she said she did not know how she was going to pay her bills.
"He suggested that she did some work as a prostitute," said Mrs Kitson.
She said Tootill's previous offences were "very relevant." In 2012 he was handed five years after he posed as a woman to set up a fake modelling agency so he could take photos of young girls.
Yesterday defence barrister Mark Barlow described Tootill as "something of a Walter Mitty character" who has never had a normal adult relationship with anyone outside of his family.
Ordering Tootill to spend 18 months in jail and two years on licence, Judge Desmond Marrinan said that "to have an interest in sex is in human nature, but with his record his interest seems to be unhealthy".