A Magherafelt taxi driver who stole a purse and its contents from a passenger has been ordered to pay £200 compensation to his victim.
Alan Evans, 53, from Manor Downs, was convicted after a contest and appeared at East Tyrone Magistrates Court to be sentenced.
The court heard how the injured party discovered her purse missing the morning after going out on March 1.
She checked her house CCTV and saw Evans tossing bank cards out the window of his taxi and making off. Her purse and the contents were never recovered.
“I am sentencing you on the basis that you tossed away what you didn’t need,” said Judge Meehan.
“Only a prison sentence is warranted in this case. People must feel that if they get a taxi they are entitled to expect care and respect.
“You brought your two daughters to court. Your victim was much like them. You simply had to drive her home safely.
“I am unable to discern any remorse or any insight. You took advantage of the occupant. The purse and money was never seen again. More than that, he claimed that he had not been paid by her.”
Mr John Rafferty, defending, told the court that his client had never been to court before.
“There is little mitigation to be said on his behalf in this case.
“He entered the building with a good character but leaves with a bad character on his shoulders.
“He deeply regrets how events unfolded. He made a mistake but for a significant period of his life he was an upstanding member of the community. He started his own business and developed it, providing for his wife and daughters.”
Judge Meehan handed down a four-month prison sentence which he suspended for two years.
He further imposed a £200 Compensation Order in favour of the injured party to cover the loss of purse and its contents.