“It’s just sickening to think someone would target someone elderly. I don’t know how people can do these things”
Thirty-seven-year-old Jessica Brennan’s elderly victim, Nora Clarke, passed away before a total of 46 incidents of theft from her bank account were uncovered.
Sligo mum-of-three Brennan walked free from court with a suspended sentence last week after the court heard she had acted out of desperation to payoff drugs debts totalling €20,000.
Approached by the Sunday World at her home in Caltragh Crescent, Sligo this week, Brennan refused to discuss her crimes with this newspaper.
When asked if there was anything she wished to say to Nora’s family, she replied: ‘bye’ before closing the door of her home and going back inside.
One neighbour of victim Nora Clarke, who lived at nearby Crozens Downs, this week described the elderly pensioner as ‘a quiet spoken woman who enjoyed tending the roses in her front garden.’
“Nora was a very quiet, reserved woman but we were all very sad when she passed away,” she said.
“It’s just sickening to think someone would target someone elderly. I don’t know how people can do these things.”
Details of how Brennan stole the funds from trusting Nora’s account were detailed at Sligo Circuit Court.
Judge Keenan Johnson heard Brennan had taken the elderly woman’s ATM card and made a number of withdrawals over a seven week period in the summer of 2019.
The offending only stopped when the card was retained in an ATM and after Nora’s brother Joe reported it stolen.
Brennan had run-up a drug debt due to her cocaine addiction, while she also owed money to a moneylender.
She admitted six sample counts out of 46 relating to thefts of various sums of money from Nora Clarke, whom the court heard died on July 17, 2019 not knowing she had been the victim of theft.
At the time, Brennan called to Nora’s home at least once a day.
A probation report assessed Brennan as being at moderate risk of re-offending.
Detective Inspector Ray Mulderrig how, after the ATM card was reported stolen by Nora’s brother, garda liaised with Bank of Ireland and received account statements.
They then checked CCTV footage at the times of the withdrawals and a woman was identified as Brennan
During an interview, she outlined how she would be given cash to buy provisions and was trusted with ATM card and PIN.
Det Insp Ray Mulderrig said the defendant had made full and frank admissions.
She said she owed money to a lot of people around the town and had a debt in the region of €20,000 arising from her use of cocaine.
Judge Johnson imposed a sentence of two years and six months but suspended it for five years on condition Brennan keeps the peace for five years and undergo probation service supervision for 12 months.
He also ordered that she remains drug free for five years and presents for urine analysis when requested.
He ordered that she repay €16,500 to Nora Clarke’s estate to include payment of the €2,300 she had with her in court, a further €10,200 by January 10 and the final €4,000 by December 31, 2023.