A DATELINE rendezvous became a 90-minute robbery ordeal in which the victim was forced to hand over his bank cards, mobile phone and car keys, a court heard.

The liaison, involving a medical professional in his 40s and Dean Ward, previously known as Liddell, began cordially, but after some non-penetrative sexual activity, the mood changed as the defendant adopted a more aggressive attitude.

It led to him claiming “compensation” from the other man for the failure to have full sex, who he held round the neck, as he locked the door of the Bowburn bungalow where the meeting was taking place.

Durham Crown Court heard that Ward demanded the other man’s wrist watch and told him he was, “going nowhere” and, “needed” to pay him money.

Jonathan Walker, prosecuting, said the by now fearful victim told him he had money in his car, parked outside.

The defendant accompanied him to the car where he was handed two £20 notes, but he also demanded the man’s mobile phone and credit cards.

He instructed the victim to drive to a filling station and then a service station, where he told him to reveal his PIN number, which he used to withdraw £100 and £150.

Ward told him to send a Facebook message saying he had agreed to pay him money, to try to explain away the cash payments, and ordered him to make a bank transfer of a further £255 to an unknown female’s bank account.

Mr Walker said in total Ward obtained £563 and his final act was to take a photograph of the other man’s driving licence, containing his address, telling him he knew where he lived and not to inform police.

The terrified victim did speak to a friend, who in turn informed a third party, and the police were contacted.

When arrested Ward claimed a fee had been agreed with the other man for sexual services and the complaint to police came about due to a falling out between them.

In a statement read to the court the victim said he contacted Ward through a gay website and had been in discussion with him for several months before deciding to meet him.

When Ward’s attitude to him became aggressive he feared for his safety, adding that he would have done anything he was told.

Ward, now 37, who has been in custody since the incident on September 16, last year, and who was described as of no fixed abode, admitted robbery and assault causing actual bodily harm stemming from a separate incident five months earlier.

Liam O’Brien, mitigating, said it was a consensual meeting and there was no suggestion that Ward lured the other man to the property.

Judge Christopher Prince told Ward it was, “a sustained, extremely unpleasant and perturbing offence against a ‘vulnerable’ man, who succumbed to all your demands.”

Finding Ward poses a danger of causing serious harm, he passed an extended sentence of nine years, with four years licence period to follow.

He also put in place an unlimited restraining order preventing Ward contacting or approaching the victim.