Tuesday 25 June 2019

Gambling apps blamed for addict's €1,100 theft from woman helping him

Stock photo
Stock photo

Gordon Deegan

You can now gamble away a farm in a week through access to gambling apps on a smartphone, a court was told.

Solicitor Daragh Hassett said that his client had engaged in a "nasty crime" to finance his gambling addiction.

Andrew Lees (25), of Inis Ealga, Shannon, Co Clare, stole a bank debit card belonging to Patricia Horan, who came to support Lees when he was homeless for a period.

In total, Lees has pleaded guilty to stealing €1,103 from Ms Horan between October 13 to October 31, 2018.

Imposing a six-month suspended jail term on one of the charges concerning €200 and striking out the remaining charges, Judge Patrick Durcan said that Ms Horan had carried out a Christian act of generosity and had been repaid by Lees "who engaged in a blatant and abusive breach of trust".

Mr Hassett said that Lees took the monies to serve a gambling addiction.

He said: "It was almost a sense of relief when he was caught and caught red-handed.

"Lees's very severe gambling addiction led to heavy drinking - when you are chasing your losses with drink, generally it goes bad."

Mr Hassett said that in his interview with gardaí, Lees was "whistling Dixie" and was very co-operative.

He said that his client "fully compensated" the injured party.

Mr Hassett said that Lees is now working as a chef in Cork and his partner is expecting their first child in six weeks' time.

He said: "Lees has brought an awful lot of shame and embarrassment to his family who still reside in Shannon."

Mr Hassett said that Lees hasn't placed a bet since he was caught and has removed all gambling apps from his phone.

He added that his client has no previous convictions. He said: "What happened was very much a once-off."

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News