Carer stole more than €41,000 from her neighbour
A grieving pensioner whose inheritance of €42,000 was stolen by her carer after her sons were shot dead has told a judge of the pain she suffered in the wake of the deception.
Marie McNally (67) jumped to her feet during the sentence hearing of her carer Laura Pennick at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today and asked Judge Melanie Greally for permission to speak, saying she was “bursting to say something”.
“She took advantage of me when my sons were shot ,” Ms McNally told the court. “She robbed me of every penny I had. She took that money from me when I was sick. She's a liar.”
Ms McNally's son, Alan, was shot dead in the Cappagh Nua pub in Finglas, North Dublin in 2012, three years after his older brother Graham was killed.
Pennick (30) of Bride Street, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty to thefts totalling €41,935 from Marie McNally between January 2010 and December 2012.
The court previously heard that Pennick, a single mother-of-two, befriended Ms McNally when she was living two doors away from her in Finglas. Ms McNally's two sons had been killed and she was in ill health at the time.
Pennick became Ms McNally's “unofficial carer” and started collecting her pension and paying her bills. She had access to Ms McNally's ATM cards and two bank accounts, including one which contained Ms McNally's inheritance from the sale of her late mother's house.
Garda Colin Rourke said Pennick made a number of withdrawals ranging from “very small amounts up to €600”. She spent the money on “home improvements, fashion purchases, home furnishings, home appliances and holidays”, he said.
When questioned by gardaí following Ms McNally's discovery of the loss, Pennick said she had financial worries of her own and needed to do it. Damien Colgan SC, defending, said Pennick owed money at the time to “individuals” who made “real threats” against her.
She has 29 previous convictions including five theft convictions. One of these involved the theft of €1000 from her previous employer, JD Sports.
Mr Colgan said Pennick had saved €1100 for her victim and was willing to save €100 a week over the next year to give to Ms McNally.
Judge Greally agreed to adjourn the matter for one year on the condition that Pennick hand over €1100 to Ms McNally in 14 days and save €100 a week for her victim.
The judge said she was not ruling out a custodial sentence. “I think in the circumstances Ms McNally is entitled to get as much of her money back as possible,” she said, adding it would still only represent a “small portion” of Ms McNally's loss.
The case will return to court on December 4 next year.