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Richhill man who stole more than £800 from aunt handed prison term


A Richhill man who stole £870 from his aunt whilst living with her has been sentenced to six months in prison.

Court heard the 29-year-old gained possession of the injured party’s debit card when she asked him to withdraw £10 from her account.

Mark Brown, of Main Street, pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal damage, common assault, 18 counts of fraud by false representation and dangerous driving at Craigavon Magistrates’ on Friday, via videolink from Maghaberry.

It was heard that the driving matter was not related to the other charges but was also up for sentencing.

Court heard that police spoke to the injured party in September when she told them she had given her First Trust debit card to the defendant, who had been living with her at the time, in order to lift £10 out of her account, but he withdrew £40.

She had left her purse unattended and it was heard that the defendant had taken £870 from the injured party’s account through 15 separate transactions.

Court also heard that on July 17, Brown smashed the windows of the injured party’s house after he had forgotten his key and could not gain entry.

On September 2, the defendant was arrested and made no reply to caution.

Brown was released on September 26, and at around midnight, he went to his aunt’s home where he broke plates, blinds and a table belonging to the injured party.

Afraid for her safety the woman contacted police who subsequently re-arrested the defendant.

Prosecution stated that when interviewed on September 2, Brown made a full admission, however, later on September 27 he made no comment.

The driving offence in question occurred on April 24, when shortly before midnight, police parked on Flush Place, Lurgan, watched Brown riding a black motorcycle the wrong way down a one-way street.

Defence solicitor Conor Downey informed the court that the defendant had been granted bail on November 9, but a suitable bail address had not been found.

He stated: “There have been difficulties finding accommodation, one of the options has been discussed.

“Mr Brown suffers from medical conditions, and he had lapsed taking medication, but this is now under control so there could be an opportunity for him to go to an addiction clinic.”

Deputy District Judge Brian Archer commented: “For a person with your record I would be looking at immediate custody but you have already served the equivalent of six months.”

Mr Downey stated: “There are issues at with his immediate family, as Mr Brown cannot return home, but he does have close friends who would be willing to take him on.”

Judge Archer said: “This is a serious offence, a breach of trust involving a family member.”

Brown was sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay compensation in the way of £1,010.

For the dangerous driving charge, he was sentenced to one month in prison suspended for 12 months and was handed a one-year driving ban.

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