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Armagh man who stole £120 from dementia-suffering mother appears in court

Armagh Courthouse

An Armagh man who stole £120 from his dementia-suffering mother has been given a 12-month conditional discharge and been ordered to pay back every penny he owed.

Andrew Heeley, 32, of Hamiltonsbawn Road, appeared at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday charged with two counts of theft, driving without insurance, without a licence, whilst over the legal alcohol limit and taking a car without authority.

These offences occurred on two separate dates.

The first were the theft charges levelled at the defendant which occurred on August 24, 2012.

These were reported to police on September 7, of that year, by Heeley’s mother who explained she had given her card to her son, who had never given it back, whilst she was in hospital.

Court heard that this woman was a vulnerable adult with mental health difficulties and suffered from dementia.

When officers questioned the defendant on December 19, 2012, he admitted to taking £40 and on a separate occasion, another £80.

When asked why he had taken to money, in interview he stated it was for “food, electric and a bus fare”.

The other offences related to an incident on June 28, of last year, at around 5.15pm when police were called to Boyles Bingo in Armagh, to a report of a drunk driver.

When officers arrived, two men who occupied the car, made off on foot before they were later caught.

Heeley was taken into custody where a breathalyser test showed him to have 78mg of alcohol per 100mls of breath.

Defence counsel stated that the Heeley did still have a relationship with his mother and had sent a postal order of £50 to begin repaying her.

With regards to the other offences, they said that Heeley had known the owner of the car and believed that it had been “parked inconsiderately so felt it would help to move it”.

Court heard that the defendant was unable to work due to mental health difficulties and had lost his wife last year after on a short time of marriage.

The defence commented that he spent most of his time “alone with his dogs as company”.

District Judge Paul Copeland stated that Heeley had “significant family and personal problems” and “struggles with day to day existence”.

He went onto say that the first offence was “of some vintage”, in reference to the long time past since the thefts.

For the two thefts, the defendant was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £60 in way of compensation to his mother.

Heeley was also banned from driving for 12 months on the other charges and made to pay a fine of £25, along with offender’s levy of £15.

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