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Restaurant free-rider is sex offender

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13:11 CEST+02:00
A 36-year-old British man who ate a meal worth 139,435 kronor ($20,000) at one of Stockholm's best restaurants and then refused to pay, has been remanded in custody by Stockholm District Court.

The man, John Cronin, from East Lothian in Scotland, is a sex offender, well known to police in Britain and Ireland. The Scotland on Sunday newspaper has referred to him as 'Scotland's most infamous fraudster.'

When presented with the bill for the meal at Stockholm's Operakällaren restaurant on Thursday, Cronin told staff that he could not pay, and wanted to go to jail.

As well as Thursday's meal, Cronin is also accused of running away from a bill of 17,000 kronor at Malmö's Hotel Savoy. The Scotsman faces two fraud-related charges.

Cronin's lawyer Bengt H Nilsson said:

"He has admitted these offences. I do not want to say more than that.

On his arrest on Thursday, the man told police he wanted to go to jail. Waiters at the Operakällaren restaurant in Stockholm had served the man scallops, entrecote, ice cream and wines priced at 41,000 kronor per glass.

Cronin's recent escapades are just the latest installments in a life of crime. He was given a six-year sentence for seriously sexually assaulting a woman in Edinburgh in 1992. After his release, he is reported to have conned his way into priests' homes in Ireland by pretending to be a cleric himself.

Cronin had also posed as the mayor of Birmingham at a charity event in Ireland, where he tried to pass off a fake £100,000 cheque, according to Scotland on Sunday.

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