Tuesday 21 January 2020

All-Ireland winner Johnny McGurk faces jail over theft of over €625k from quarry firm

All-Ireland winning Derry footballer Johnny McGurk at previous court hearing
All-Ireland winning Derry footballer Johnny McGurk at previous court hearing

Nevin Farrell

A former All-Ireland winner with the County Derry GAA football team faces possible jail after pleading guilty to the theft of over £500,000 (€625,000) from his former employer - one of Northern Ireland's best known construction industry firms.

Johnny McGurk (50), whose address was given as Drummuck Road near Maghera, but which was originally listed on court papers as just a few miles away at Oakland Crescent in Gulladuff, had stolen the cash whilst working for Kilrea-based Patrick Bradley Ltd where, it is understood, he was their accountant.

At Antrim Crown Court on Tuesday he pleaded guilty to the charges and was warned that when he returns to court he faces a "real risk" he could be sent to jail.

McGurk had stolen £572,206 whilst an employee at the firm - which is well-known in the quarry business - over a five-and-a-half year period between July 2006 and the end of 2011.

He also admitted 36 charges of fraud by abuse of position by drawing amounts of money from Patrick Bradley Ltd bank accounts into his own Bank of Ireland savings account.

One of the counts relates to drawing on the firm a cheque for £3,650 in 2011 for GAA legends charity golf.

McGurk is from a family dynasty well-known in GAA circles

As well as being part of the Derry team which tasted All-Ireland glory in 1993 he also helped his club team Lavey from Gulladuff win the All-Ireland GAA football club title in 1991.

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Wearing a suit, shirt and tie McGurk entered the dock and confirmed his name before pleading guilty to all the charges. He was released on continuing bail to return to court in May.

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