A woman who withdrew cash from her boyfriend’s accounts within a week of his death has been given a 12 month conditional discharge.
At sentencing, East Tyrone Magistrates’ Court heard how Castlecaulfield man, Colm McKeown, died suddenly on July 28 2013.
She said that the death of her boyfriend had been a difficult experience and that she had began “using alcohol and drugs as a method of coping
His mother and sister subsequently visited his residence in Castlecaulfield only to discover that his wallet and mobile phone were missing.
When they went to close his bank accounts they were informed that four withdrawals totalling £380 had been made on August 3 and 4 despite no one having permission to do so.
Police were called to investigate and were informed that Mr McKeown’s girlfriend of five months, the defendant, Charmaine Mallon, 23, of Irish Street in Downpatrick, knew Mr McKeown’s PIN and was in possession of his card.
Ms Mallon was interviewed and admitted to making the withdrawals but told the police that Mr McKeown had told her that she could have money if she needed it.
She further told constables that Mr McKeown’s will allowed her to a portion of his estate. However, when asked to produce this document it was not forthcoming.
She was, thereafter, convicted of four counts of fraud by false representation on August 3 and 4 2013.
A solicitor for the defendant told the court that his client offered no excuse for her actions but said that the death of her boyfriend had been a difficult experience and that she had began “using alcohol and drugs as a method of coping”.
He said that Ms Mallon was deeply apologetic and was “was looking forward to putting the incident behind her and opening a new chapter in her life” with the birth of her child from a new relationship in the next month.
Handing down a 12 month conditional discharge, District Judge John Meehan said that the case was “sad and unusual”.