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Face of ‘Grinch’ who stole jewellery, clothing, earphones and a TV from Christmas parcels

Cork man John Paul Thornton received a suspended sentence earlier this week for stealing the property while working as a courier for Fastway Couriers

John Paul Thornton

Patrick O'ConnellSunday World

These are the first pictures of the real life ‘Grinch’ who pilfered jewellery, clothing, earphones and even a television from parcels that were to be delivered in the run-up to Christmas last.

Our exclusive images show Cork man John Paul Thornton after he received a suspended sentence earlier this week for stealing the property while working as a courier for Fastway Couriers in late November last year.

Thornton, with an address at St Vincent’s Hostel in Cork, had been working with the company for a period of approximately four weeks when the thefts were discovered.

In total, €866 worth of property was taken by Thornton, including a television, earphones, a watch, trainers, jewellery and clothes.

John Paul Thornton

Thornton, Cork District Court heard, pleaded guilty to the theft of property from his then employer on November 24, 2021.

Defence solicitor Frank Buttimer told Judge Olann Kelleher that his client had been working with the company for a number of weeks when a dispute had arisen concerning his wages.

Thornton had reacted by stealing the items from the parcels.

When confronted over the thefts, he admitted what he had done and the property was recovered.

The court heard that Thornton had a number of previous convictions, including five previous ones for theft and six for burglary.

On June 17, 2017, he carried out a robbery at Ladbrokes bookmakers at Edward Walsh Road, Ballyphehane, Co. Cork. A court previously heard how he entered the bookmakers and picked up a number of football coupons which were beside the door.

He walked towards the cashier and went to the price screen close to him.

He picked up a betting docket, wrote on it, and then presented the docket and football coupons to the cashier. The docket read: ‘Give out the money or I’ll f*** petrol in on top of you.’

The respondent then told the cashier that he was going to rob the bookmakers, that he needed the money, and that he would set the premises on fire.

He put his hand behind his back as if to get something, and the cashier handed over the contents of the till, which amounted to €878.

The cashier recognised the respondent as someone who had been in the bookmakers on previous occasions and knew him by his nickname, ‘Bubbles’.

John Paul Thornton

Thornton was identified on CCTV and was subsequently arrested a few days later on June 20. The money stolen was not recovered.

Two other offences took place on a different date, May 27, 2017, in other areas of Cork – a burglary on a residential premises at Elderwood Avenue, Boreenmanna Road and a theft at O’Driscoll’s Superstore in Ballinlough.

On November 23, 2017, Thornton was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, with the last four months suspended for a period of 12 months, backdated to June 2017.

The sentence was imposed on all three counts to run concurrently.

At that time Thornton already had 140 previous convictions, including three previous convictions for burglary and 14 convictions for possession of drugs.

Concerning the thefts from the parcels last year, Judge Olann Kelleher described theft from an employer as a “terrible breach of trust.”

Mr Buttimer, defending, said Thornton’s family had supported him through a three-month residential addiction treatment programme in Westport, Co Mayo.

This has enabled him to come off heroin and he was now clear of all drugs since June.

Judge Kelleher said he would take into consideration the three-month residential programme undertaken by the accused.

He imposed a 10-month sentence suspended on condition Thornton is of good behaviour for a period of two years.

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