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raided savings Musician son walks free from court after stealing €7k from his own mum (82) to 'finance tour' 

Martin 'Ginger' O'Keefe pleaded guilty to making 25 unlawful transactions from his mother's Bank of Ireland account.

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Martin O’Keefe stole from his own mother

Martin O’Keefe stole from his own mother

Martin O’Keefe stole from his own mother

A son's cruel theft of €7,000 from his own mother's bank account left the 82-year-old 'a broken woman' incapable of recovering from his betrayal - the pensioner's daughter told the Sunday World.

Pictures taken of victim Eileen O'Keefe, 11 days before she realised her adopted son Martin 'Ginger' O'Keefe was stealing from her, show a happy confident woman enjoying her life.

But another, taken in hospital a month afterwards, reveals the terrible toll his betrayal exacted - daughter Jackie told this newspaper.

"What Martin did … it broke her," said Jackie. She went from being a happy, confident woman to someone who didn't want to eat or drink."

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Eileen O'Keefe pictured just 11 days before learning of her son’s betrayal

Eileen O'Keefe pictured just 11 days before learning of her son’s betrayal

Eileen O'Keefe pictured just 11 days before learning of her son’s betrayal

Earlier this week musician Martin, a guitarist who formerly played alongside well known artists including Jack L, pleaded guilty at Sligo District Court to making 25 unlawful transactions from his mother's Bank of Ireland account between May 21, 2018 and July 10, 2018.

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Eileen O’Keefe in hospital after the theft

Eileen O’Keefe in hospital after the theft

Eileen O’Keefe in hospital after the theft

O'Keeffe claimed that his life had 'imploded' at the time, he had addiction issues and up to the point he became his mother's carer, they had not had a familial relationship.

O'Keeffe told the court he was trying to finance a tour in Holland with the money.

He admitted the theft was "a terrible act" and said at the time his 'moral compass' was gone but had now returned.

He said he had cashed in an insurance policy in order to pay the compensation.

Judge Kevin Kilrane noted a probation report indicated the thefts may have been motivated by revenge.

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Jackie Smith said her brother Martin’s betrayal has had an horrific effect on her mother

Jackie Smith said her brother Martin’s betrayal has had an horrific effect on her mother

Jackie Smith said her brother Martin’s betrayal has had an horrific effect on her mother

"He went to live with his mother when aged a year-and-a-half, and all was not entirely happy in the house," the judge said.

He said that although a 'lengthy' sentence would normally apply, O'Keeffe seems to be leading a quiet life now and had a "serious fall from grace".

He was convicted and sentenced to four months in prison, suspended in its entirety.

Speaking with the Sunday World, Martin O'Keefe's adopted sister Jackie said:

"Martin was never her carer. He came up to give me a hand after our father died.

"I have MS and he said he hadn't realised I was doing it all on my own. First of all, he was looking for somewhere to stay and he asked to speak with my mam. And I asked her and she said 'no' because they had fallen out beforehand and hadn't spoken in 10 years.

"But then she warmed up to the idea and she spoke to him on the phone. And honestly she was so delighted to be able to talk to him again. She had missed him.

"In the beginning, he came up to stay for a day or two and then he'd go back to Sligo.

"And that went on … he'd come up for a day or two and then go back to Sligo … but he never stayed here continuously.

"I was still her carer … I brought her to her hospital appointments and did the shopping. When he stayed he did cook for her but I still came out and picked up her pension for her and did whatever else needed to be done."

Jackie said it wasn't until months later she and her mum realised that Martin was stealing from her.

"We finally figured out what he was really doing on Friday the 13th of July," Jackie said.

"Mam rang me because she had been in a pharmacy in Athy with her partner and she asked me to ring them to see if she had left her card there. And she hadn't.

"So I text Martin next and all I got back from him was a smiley face.

"Then, Mam came home, on either the Friday or the Saturday, and he had cleared out.

"He had cleared out all his stuff and also other things that didn't belong to him.

"So, we rang the gardaí and that's when we got the bank statements and realised he had been dipping in.

"If you saw the bank statements, it was unreal. Sometimes it was €200 or €300.

"But he took three €700 sums up at the bank in Sutton at 3am in the morning.

"He used to go for these walks and the rest was taken in a shop up around the corner.

"On one occasion he'd been in court in Sligo and was fined €500 and the very next day he withdrew €500 from my mother's account.

"And when we were clearing out whatever he'd left behind him in the room, we found a box of mobile phones and there were deliveries of micro-phones and stands coming to the house. It was crazy."

Asked about the effect this had on her mother, Jackie said the best way of explaining it was to look at pictures taken of the pensioner before and after she found out.

"If I showed you a picture of my mother 10 days before it happened and then I showed you a picture of her now, you wouldn't think it was the same woman. He destroyed her, mentally, physically and financially."

"In the court he said she was not his biological mother, but what had that got to do with anything?

"He said he didn't have a happy childhood but that's the first I ever heard about that. If my mother read what was said in that courtroom, it would put her over the edge.

"Martin has never apologised to my mother.

"He hasn't talked to either her or me ever since … and that was part of the bail conditions that he wasn't allowed near me or Mam. But what he did has had a horrific effect on her.

"She's been in and out of hospital since this happened.

"She's been on depression tablets. If you saw the state he left her in … she wouldn't eat; she wouldn't drink; she wouldn't do anything!

"My mam would never go out the front door unless she was well dressed and dolled up to the nines … her hair was done and her clothes had all the creases in the right places. Now she'll do nothing.

"She can't walk now … she let her health go … she just didn't care."

In her victim impact statement, which was read out in court, Eileen said she feels vulnerable and alone since the thefts, has trouble sleeping and suffered from depression.

"I feel if my own family treat me this way, "what will strangers do?

"I've lost confidence in myself and others," she said, adding that she has changed the locks of her house and no longer socialises with others."

Speaking of her own feelings towards Martin now, Jackie said: "I will never forgive him. To do that to his own mother, it's just so wrong."

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