Man gets 12-month sentence for stealing £30,000 from dying father

Man gets 12-month sentence for stealing £30,000 from dying father

A 55-year-old man has received a 12-month sentence for stealing £30,000 from his dad, who had Alzheimer's disease, in order to fund his gambling addiction.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, Martin O'Brien, from Rossnagalliagh Park in Derry, will serve half of his 12-month sentence in custody before being released on licence.

O'Brien had kept his addiction a secret from his siblings and persuaded them to give him the sole rights to deal with his father's financial affairs, the court heard.

He admitted in court that he had began stealing money from his father's accounts in July 2010 and had continued for three years.

O'Brien had taken around £10,000 from his father's Derry Credit Union account, £13,000 from his Pennyburn Credit Union account and £6,000 from his post office account.

The father had been suffering from Alzheimer's and was admitted to Altnagelvin Hospital in 2013, where he died on April 26 of that year.

Two days before his father's death  he told his sister he was stealing money from his father, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

The report told that Judge Philip Babington said O'Brien was able to take his father's money by getting "invoices from the nursing home and on the strength of that he would get a cheque from Pennyburn Credit Union. The invoice was then receipted and the defendant then took that to the Derry Credit Union which paid him the equivalent of the invoice in cash which he retained for his own use".

The Judge added that this was "a serious breach of trust case in which the defendant's siblings gave him full authority to deal with their father's financial affairs and he quite clearly took advantage of his father's inability to look after them himself".

In a separate report, O'Brien's sister, Flo Morgan, told the Derry Journal that O'Brien did not leave any money in her father's account for the funeral, adding: "What he did was disgraceful. It is heartbreaking. We lost a father and a brother at the same time and he has shown no remorse."