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I'M SUPER SORRY; Compo conman regrets scam for pounds 38,000.

Byline: LARISSA NOLAN

THE compo conman who tried to cheat a fast food chain out of pounds 38,000 said yesterday: "I'm sorry now."

The fraudster, who made a false compensation claim against Supermac's, has always kept his identity secret.

But we can reveal he is convicted car thief Ronan Quinlivan from Newcastle, Co Galway.

In an exclusive interview with the Mirror, Quinlivan said: "I truly regret it now.

"It was a stupid thing to do and the only excuse I have is that I was too young to know what I was doing.

"But I have learned my lesson and will never do anything of the sort again."

Quinlivan, 21, tried to sue the company after saying he slipped and fell on a wet toilet floor.

But his lies were exposed on a security camera that showed him deliberately putting water on the floor.

He and an unnamed friend then practised slipping before falling on the ground.

Concerned staff at the res-taurant - who at the time were unaware of the hoax - called an ambulance.

It was only after the video was viewed that they realised they had been duped.

But Quinlivan now maintains he regrets trying the scam.

He said: "I did that years ago - I was only 16 then and hadn't a clue what I was at.

"I thought it would be a quick way of making money and I didn't think about the consequences.

"The money just came into my head and it seemed a good idea .

"But now I am older and know it was not right. One thing for sure is that I will never pull a stunt like that again."

Quinlivan said he was embarrassed by the security camera pictures that were all over the newspapers and TV this week.

He said: "It was me in the video and my friends and relations all know that. But now I just want to put it all behind me. As far as I am concerned it is in the past."

The con attempt took place in the Galway Eyre Square branch of Supermac's in 1997.

The case came to court last November, but Quinlivan withdrew his claim when it was revealed the company's lawyers had damning video footage of the incident.

Quinlivan, of Inishannagh Park in Newcastle, has been up in court before.

In 1998 when he was 18 he was convicted of attempting to steal a car and with the unauthorised taking of a car.

He was ordered to carry out 80 hours of community service when he appeared before Galway District Court.

The court heard he had fallen into bad company.

The Supermac's video was shown last week to Irish business leaders who met at a conference in Dublin.

They joined with Supermac's in demanding tougher penalties for fraudsters who cost Irish businesses millions every year.

Mark Fielding of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises said: "Our members have indicated that due to rising insurance costs they will be forced to operate with reduced cover or reduce costs in other areas which will put jobs across the country at risk."

Supermac's chief executive Pat McDonagh said Quinlivan's false claim was not the first that the company had come up against.

He told of another case where a drunk prankster tried to sue after he slid down the handrail of a stairs in another branch.

That case never went to court because the video footage also proved the claim was fake.

CAPTION(S):

SCENE: Galway Supermac's; Quinlivan wets floor; Now he practises a fall; He pretends he is hurt; Paramedics rush to aid
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 19, 2002
Words:598
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