Friday 21 July 2017

Man charged woman with dementia over €2k for roofing work he never carried out

Claimed he carried out three days work

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Sonya McLean

A Dublin father of six who “hoodwinked” an 82-year-old woman with early on-set dementia by taking €2,250 for roofing work he never carried out has avoided a jail term.

John Connors (36) of Wyckham Avenue, Dundrum pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to theft of €2,250 at the woman's home in Carpenterstown, Dublin on February 19, 2016. He has three previous convictions for assault and public order.

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced Connors to three years in prison which he suspended in full on strict conditions. He said it was a serious crime as Connors had “hoodwinked and defrauded an elderly lady”.

Judge Nolan accepted that Connors had paid the woman back, had expressed sincere remorse and didn't have serious previous convictions before he said he didn't deserve an immediate custodial sentence.

Garda Alan Reddy told Anne-Marie Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that in March 2016 the woman's son, who attended her home three to four times a week to check on her and carry out any necessary work around the house or gardens, noticed that she had written a cheque for €2,250.

He asked her about it and she said a man had called to the house claiming that she needed to have her roof repaired. She said she handed over the cheque to the “roofing service”.

The son checked the roof and was satisfied that, at most, 10 minutes worth of work had been done to it. He also checked the gardens and other areas to make sure that no other repairs had been carried out.

Gardaí were contacted and Connors was easily identified as he had cashed the cheque in his own bank account.

He was arrested last May and claimed that he had carried out three days of work, repairing the roof, a patio and trimming hedges in the garden.

He said the woman had acknowledged that the work needed to be done.

Gda Reddy told the court that he was satisfied that Connors could not have done more than two hours of work on the roof and the other work he had claimed to have done was not done at all.

He confirmed that Connors had since paid the woman back in full.

Gda Reddy agreed with Kitty Perle BL, defending, that her client met with the victim's son in the garda station who “rightfully expressed his anger” about what he had done to his mother.

She said Connors paid the money back and assured the man that nothing like that would ever happen again.

Ms Perle said the meeting was a “wake-up” call for her client who now fully understood the seriousness of the offence.

She said he was a married father of six and was the sole breadwinner for the family as his wife was unable to work because of health difficulties.

Counsel asked the court to accept that it was “a serious error in judgement” and handed in references which described Connors as a “trustworthy and reliable man”.

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