A 91-YEAR-old resident of an independent living facilty in Kinsale had over €6,000 stolen from her by a relative, Judge Colm Roberts was told at a Bantry District Court sitting recently.
Mary Ann O’Sullivan (57), formerly from Horsehill, Kinsale and now living in Malaga, Spain, pleaded guilty to 27 charges of taking money without permission from 91-year-old retired primary school teacher, Catherine Beardsmore, a resident at the Haven Bay Retirement Village apartments.
The accused had assisted Ms Beardsmore with her financial affairs, namely setting up a bank account into which her UK pension would be lodged, when she moved from the UK to Kinsale.
The money was stolen from the AIB in Kinsale, where, unknown to Ms Beardsmore, Mary Ann O’Sullivan had created a joint account, between December 24th, 2014 and April 20th, 2017.
‘Mary Ann O’Sullivan then proceeded to withdraw €6,467 in 27 separate transactions without the knowledge or permission of Ms Beardsmore,’ Det Garda Mick Brosnan told the court.
Solicitor for the defendant, Denis Healy, said that his client was extremely sorry for what she had done, that she had taken the money in an effort to start her own business and had every intention of returning the money but her business failed. ‘Mary Ann O’Sullivan has never been in trouble before and this is her first time before the courts,’ Mr Healy said. ‘What she did is completely out of character and she is extremely remorseful.’
Judge Roberts said that he had no doubt that Mary Ann O’Sullivan had been ‘an upstanding, decent and honourable’ person. ‘She is guilty of a serious breach of trust, not on one occasion, but over a three-year period, when she had sufficient opportunities to stop, but that did not happen,’ Judge Roberts said.
‘This is far too serious to apply the Probation Act, without the excellent investigation work carried out by the detective garda, this might never have come to light. The anxiety and the strain this must have put on the vulnerable and elderly Ms Beardsmore must have been appalling.’
Solicitor Denis Healy said the defendant had brought €6,500 to court with her to repay what she had stolen.
Judge Roberts convicted her and sentenced her to four months’ jail, which he suspended for two years on account of her guilty plea, the fact that she had no previous convictions, and that she had repaid the money.