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Patient stole computer tablet from Dublin hospital A&E as he waited to be treated

Dubliner Michael Conway (43) concealed the Samsung tablet, which was controlling the decontamination machine, in his trousers

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Andrew Phelan

A patient was waiting for treatment in a hospital when he burgled an office, stealing a tablet computer that was controlling the decontamination machine.

Michael Conway (43), a council worker, rendered the machine useless when he took the tablet at Dublin’s Mater hospital, a court heard.

He was suffering ongoing PTSD after finding the body of a shooting victim in the course of his work for a local authority.

The case against him was adjourned at Dublin District Court for the production of a probation report.

Conway, a father-of-six with an address at Dermot O’Dwyer House, Dublin 1, pleaded guilty to burglary - entering a premises as a trespasser with intent to commit an offence.

Garda Sergeant Maire McDevitt told Judge Bryan Smyth officers were made aware of an incident that had taken place at the Mater’s Accident and Emergency department on February 10 this year. The accused had entered staff-only offices, took a Samsung tablet and concealed it in his trousers.

It was used to control the hospital’s decontamination machine, which was rendered useless without the tablet. CCTV was viewed, a search was carried out and the tablet was retrieved undamaged, the court heard.

Conway made admissions in relation to the incident and was charged. The accused had mental health issues and had been taken to the hospital by gardaí on the day.

He presented as very unwell and took the item while he was waiting to be treated, his solicitor Yvonne Bambury said.

Conway had no previous convictions, the court heard.

The accused worked for a local authority and in the course of his employment, he had found the body of a shooting victim.

He had suffered from chronic PTSD as a result and on the day, he had serious mental health issues.

Gardaí brought him to the hospital and he “wasn’t in a good state of mind” at the time, Ms Bambury said.

The accused had never been in trouble until now. His immediate response when gardaí arrived at his house was to hand over the tablet.

Judge Smyth adjourned the case to a date in July for the production of a probation report.

He said he wanted to find out more about the accused being brought to the hospital before he finalises the case.

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