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Father of five jailed for 'despicable' scam in which woman (74) lost €10,000 savings


(stock photo)

(stock photo)

(stock photo)

A man was jailed for three years after he scammed an elderly woman out of €10,000 which she had saved for her funeral expenses.

Father-of-five Denis O'Brien (29), of Hazelwood Drive, Ballyspillane, Co Kerry, was jailed for what Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin told Cork Circuit Criminal Court was "a despicable and mean-spirited offence".

The court was told that a portion of the €10,000 had been saved up by the woman over a period of years to pay her funeral expenses.

O'Brien, who pleaded guilty to four counts of theft, has a total of 59 previous convictions. These include theft by deception, including from a vulnerable 86-year-old man.

Detective Garda John Gleeson told the court that on September 26, 2019, the defendant went to the house of a 74-year-old woman in Cork city and told her he was the nephew of her neighbour. O'Brien said that woman had work carried out on her home but now couldn't afford to pay it.

The householder, wanting to help her neighbour, made out a cheque to the value of €4,900.

O'Brien also stole a blank cheque and €600 in cash. He later returned and got a further €4,500.

At an earlier hearing of the case, O'Brien said he was the main carer for his mother who suffers from chronic lung disease. His five children range in age from six years to six months.

Det Gda Gleeson said that O'Brien was arrested after CCTV footage connected him to the crime.

The elderly woman has not received any of the money back and now faces the loss of the entire €10,000.

The judge said the crime was despicable and that he had preyed on the "innocence and vulnerability" of the elderly woman.

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