Saturday 18 January 2020

Supermarket manager put more than 100 jobs at risk after stealing to feed gambling habit, court hears

Wayne Johnston at court. Photo: North West Newspix
Wayne Johnston at court. Photo: North West Newspix

Stephen Maguire

A supermarket manager who stole more than €315,000 from his employer to feed his gambling habit put more than 100 jobs at risk, a court heard.

Wayne Johnston put hundreds of thousands of euro through his Paddy Power online account to feed his addiction.

Johnston appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court in Co Donegal charged with theft at Cost Cutters in Ballybofey.

The father-of-two was with the supermarket from 2006 but when he was put in charge of all purchasing and staff in 2009, the trail of thefts began.

They started with small sums but soon mounted until in one year he stole more than €300,000.

Details of exactly how Johnston, originally from Thurles in Co Tipperary, stole the money was not given during the case.

The court was told the thefts had a huge personal effect on the owner of the business, Michael Doherty.

He said he learned money can be replaced but nothing would ever take away the stress, worry, sleepless nights and mental torture he and his family suffered.

He added that without the support of suppliers and partners, the jobs of 100 people would have been in danger.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be the same person again. I lost a part of me,” he said.

The accused told how Mr Doherty was more than just an employer, developing a friendship outside of work.

“When the gambling took over I was guilty and embarrassed for taking Michael’s money,” Johnston said. “I’m so sorry for what happened.”

He added he never thought of the bigger picture and how it might put the jobs of 100 people in jeopardy.

Johnston said he was now getting treatment for his gambling addiction and his wife Michelle was in charge of all the family’s finances.

He was  prepared to pay €600 each month for the next 30 years as a way of compensating his former employer.

Johnston, in his 30s, works for a courier company and his employer was aware of the court case which was adjourned until May 4.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News