I still want disgraced Judge Perrin's children to share in €1m will, says pensioner
Published 29/11/2012 | 05:00
AN elderly pensioner tricked into leaving half of his €1m estate to the two children of a judge has insisted he will still leave them some money in his will.
Former solicitor Heather Perrin became the first judge in the history of the State to be jailed for a serious crime for tricking her elderly friend Thomas Davis.
The deception happened more than two months after she was told she would be elevated to the bench.
Perrin last night began an unprecedented two-and-a-half- year jail term at Dochas, the women's prison in Mountjoy.
Perrin (61), now known as prisoner 83279, broke down in tears as she was sentenced.
Mr Davis (83) last night told the Irish Independent Perrin's two children would still receive a small sum from his will, despite the scam.
He said it was "well known" that he was going to leave them €2,000 and he would still do so.
He said he was "very much" relieved the trial was over, as it had "been going on for the last three years, near enough now".
He said they had been good friends with Perrin at one time but "it is all gone, as far as I'm concerned anyways".
The pensioner said the trial had been traumatic and an ordeal for him to have to attend the courtroom and give evidence.
"It was of course something I'd rather have done without, it is as simple as that," he said. "I was never in court before, it was a whole new experience."
He said they had to attend the court through "no fault of our own".
"I heard (the sentence) on the news but also the detective sergeant was out with me to tell me," he said.
Perrin was a former leading light of the Girls' Brigade, the Christian group for young girls, who was appointed to the bench in February 2009 with the support of the Green Party.
She had been told as far back as October 2008 that she would be appointed to the District Court.
But she deceived her lifelong friend and client into bequeathing half of his estate to her two children in January 2009, weeks before her formal appointment to the bench.
To compound the deceit, the former leading light continued to deal with her victim's affairs – writing letters on Mr Davis's behalf – while she was on the bench.
Perrin would have served a three-and-a-half-year jail sentence, but was ordered to serve two-and-a-half years because of ongoing health difficulties.
She will serve almost two years in prison, with 25pc remission for good behaviour.
She resigned as a judge last Monday, sparing the Government the prospect of impeachment proceedings.
Perrin, of Lambay Court in Malahide, Dublin, had denied including her children as major beneficiaries of the estate of Thomas Davis in 2009.
But yesterday she accepted the unanimous jury verdict as "right and proper" – indicating that she will not appeal.
Trial judge Mary Ellen Ring said that Perrin's two adult children were "caught up in a nightmare not of their own making".
Judge Ring said it was one of the most serious breaches of trust to come before the courts and that there was little credit to be found for Perrin.
She said it was an aggravating factor that the offence occurred just before she became a judge and noted that she continued her involvement with the victim's legal affairs while she was on the bench.
She called Mr and Mrs Davis "a loving and generous couple" who trusted Perrin "because of a lifetime of shared experiences".
The judge said there were some offences where a jail term was unavoidable and it was regrettable that she had no other option but to jail Perrin.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter said that he had consulted with the Office of the Attorney General following Perrin's conviction but said this was no longer relevant or necessary because of her recent resignation.
Mr Shatter said the conviction of Perrin showed the importance of the highest standards of honesty being observed. "The victims in this case are to be greatly commended for their fortitude in seeing this difficult and distressing criminal prosecution through to conviction," said Mr Shatter.