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cruel theft Conwoman stole almost €6K from her ex-boyfriend as he battled brain tumour

Gemma McBride (40) narrowly escaped going to jail this week when a judge agreed to give her a suspended sentence.

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Gemma McBride

Gemma McBride

Gemma McBride

This is the conniving ex-partner who swindled £5,000 (€5,880) from her ex as he lay in hospital fighting for his life.

Gemma McBride wrote herself a massive cheque as her former lover was having surgery for a brain tumour which almost took his life.

The 40-year-old narrowly escaped going to jail last week when a judge agreed to give her a suspended sentence.

Newtownards Magistrates Court heard that McBride still contends she had done nothing wrong and that she strongly believes she had permission to withdraw the large sum of money.

When confronted by the Sunday World this week at her home in Newtownards, she was reluctant to speak.

"I don't really want to get into it because it has been far too traumatic for me. I didn't do anything wrong, but I just want to forget about it."

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Gemma McBride

Gemma McBride

Gemma McBride

The court was told that while the victim was in hospital "receiving treatment for a brain tumour," Gemma wrote herself out a cheque to the tune of £5,000 (€5,880).

It was while the victim was "convalescing" that he spotted the huge withdrawal from his account and inquiries led the authorities back to McBride in October 2017.

The fraudster, from Blenheim Drive in the Co Down town, denies doing anything wrong and claimed that she and her former partner had discussed and agreed the whopping sum.

But following a contest earlier this year, she was convicted of a single count of fraud by false representation.

The court heard on Tuesday however that even now, McBride "finds it difficult to accept that she's been convicted and shows a lack of insight or sympathy for the victim".

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Defence counsel Conor Holmes revealed that McBride has mental health issues, adding that with a clear criminal record "I'm asking you for a suspended sentence".

District Judge Mark Hamill said that "ordinarily I would defer for a year to get compensation but there's no prospect" of any restitution being made.

"It was a blatant and obvious fraud and the victim has no prospect of being compensated which sticks in the craw," said the judge,

"I would dearly like to order compensation but I can't get blood out of a stone."

Although he imposed a six-month jail sentence on McBride, he suspended it for three years and warned the remorseless fraudster "be under no illusion, behave like this again and you will go to prison."

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