A Romanian was jailed today (Monday) for seven years for robbing two Thai sex workers at a pop-up brothel in Watford.
Ionut Sofroniei, 25, was one of three men who burst into the flat after one of them had posed as a customer.
St Albans Crown Court heard the woman victim and her friend were working from the third floor flat in Watford.
They were ordered into a bedroom while the men carried out a search and escaped with £1100 cash, jewellery and electrical items.
The second victim, who was transitioning, said she was “ridiculed and mocked” when they saw a passport that described her as male.
Sofroniei was detected after the first victim used the phone number she had been contacted on to find his Facebook page.
Giving evidence from Edinburgh, where she now lives, the woman said she came to the UK from Thailand 20 years ago.
She said she and her male friend were renting apartments at different locations and advertising on the site Adultwork.
On Wednesday, January 17 she said she received a text from the guy who was to rob her.
She said he arrived at about a quarter to seven, but left saying he would have to get cash.
She said: “10 to 20 minutes later he came back with another two men. He pushed the door open.”
She injured her lip as her head was pushed to the floor before she and her friend were pushed into a bedroom.
She said the man in a mask, who was armed with what looked like a spanner, told them not to say anything.
The men took £400 from her and £700 from her friend, along with her jewellery.
In evidence Sofroniei told the jury of ten women and two men he had handed his phone to a friend at the time.
He said he had not been there, saying he believed he was working.
It was only in August last year that Sofroniei, who has lived in the UK for five years, was arrested as he boarded a flight to Lithuania.
Sofroniei of Feltham, Middlesex denied two charges of robbery, but was convicted. The other two men have not been detected.