'Helper' who stole €8,000 from elderly woman avoids jail
A MOTHER-OF-TWO who stole more than €8,000 from an 87-year-old widow's bank account avoided jail yesterday when she was given a three-year suspended sentence.
But the pensioner is to be given €15,000 in compensation.
Elizabeth Nunan (53) was sentenced yesterday after being convicted by a Cork Circuit Criminal Court jury of stealing €8,100 over a three-month period from the account of Mary Murphy using her ATM card.
Nunan, of Burnfort, Mallow, Co Cork, had admitted withdrawing the money between January and March this year in €300 amounts.
However, she insisted she had the full permission of Mrs Murphy to make the withdrawals and had given the money to her every time.
Mrs Murphy said no such permission had ever been given and denied getting the money.
The jury had convicted Nunan on 27 counts of theft.
Yesterday, Judge Cornelius Murphy said the offences were all about exploiting a vulnerable pensioner.
"She attempted to exploit an old, frail and friendly woman by getting her bank cards, by getting out money and by thieving the money with no permission or consent," he said.
Nunan is the mother of two teenage children and, on her conviction, had been remanded in custody for two days to Limerick Prison. This had a "very traumatic" effect on her.
Her husband had since raised €15,000 in compensation.
The judge was told that Nunan had no previous convictions -- and had been a good friend and neighbour to Mrs Murphy over 20 years.
She had done chores for the pensioner and had often provided meals for her and well as taking her for regular shopping trips.
Judge Murphy said Mrs Murphy was "a very forgiving person" and he took her views on the matter into account.