Courts

Thursday 24 July 2014

Woman who stole life savings from a 92-year-old escapes jail

* Elderly woman had just €5 left in her Credit Union account
* Mary McDonagh took €41,000 from elderly victim
* McDonagh has repaid €10,00 and avoided jail

Caroline Crawford

Published 11/07/2014|11:22

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Woman who stole life savings from a 92-year-old escapes jail
Woman who stole life savings from a 92-year-old escapes jail

A CON-WOMAN who stole the life savings of a 92-year-old woman has escaped jail after she repaid €10,000 of the €41,000 she took.

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Mary McDonagh (61), from Droim Chaoin Rahoon in Galway, took the money from her elderly victim after she repeatedly called to her Salthill home over an eight month period.

She had warned the pensioner, who lived alone, to tell no one about the visits.

The court previously heard how the theft only came to light after McDonagh had taken the €41,000 life savings from her victim, leaving her with just €5 in her credit union account.

The elderly woman had been forced to ask a neighbour for a further €1,500 for McDonagh before approaching her son for a further €1,500.

McDonagh, a mother-of-11 pleaded guilty to six sample charges of theft on dates between April 2012 and January 2013. She admitted the facts to the remaining 20 charges. The court was told she had gambled the money away.

In February she was given three months to repay a quarter of the money she took after her initial offer of €3,650 in compensation along with €20 a week from her social welfare payments was described as “derisory” by Judge Rory McCabe.

She was warned that she would face a two year jail sentence if she did not bring a further €6,350 to court.

McDonagh returned to court in May with a further €4,725 and requested more time to come up with the balance. She provided an additional €1,625 yesterday, bringing the total paid to €10,000.

The court had previously heard that the thefts began in April 2012, when McDonagh called to the victim's home claiming she had just left hospital and needed €50 to get home.

She then began an eight month campaign of calling to the elderly woman seeking funds ranging from €1,000 to €4,000. The court heard how the elderly woman believed each visit would be the last.

She was left unable to sleep and was afraid not to have the money for McDonagh. She had been left reluctant to open her door to anyone.

Judge McCabe suspended McDonagh's two year sentence for two years and bound her to the peace.

Irish Independent

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