Man who conned older lady of €5k spared jail

A pensioner was conned into paying €5,000 for a small amount of shoddy work at her home, and yesterday the culprit was told that the only reason he was avoiding jail was because he had brought all of the money to court to repay the woman.

Inspector Ronan Kennelly said Denis Harrington, aged 40, of 99 Ballyspillane, Killarney, Co Kerry, and others called to the pensioner’s home at Southbury Road in Cork on August 10. He was paid €5,000 for what was described as some shoddy work to her gutters and other repair work.

Harrington pleaded guilty to a charge of dishonestly inducing the woman to pay him €5,000.

Eddie Burke, solicitor, said that even though two other men had been the ones who spoke directly to the pensioner, Harrington was pleading guilty and paying the compensation.

Insp Kennelly said the accused had no similar convictions in Ireland but had one for fraud in Belgium in 2015.

Mr Burke said the accused left school after his Confirmation and worked all his life. He said Harrington had a history of psychiatric difficulties. A number of background medical reports were presented to the court. Judge Leo Malone said that the defendant’s doctor said the defendant’s difficulties were worsened with alcohol and drug abuse.

Mr Burke said the accused had a lot of anxiety and had been sick in the courthouse toilets before the sentencing hearing.

Judge Malone said: “I would be anxious too if I was before the court facing a prison sentence.”

He said: “The payment of compensation is keeping him out of prison.”

The judge gave him a seven-month suspended sentence.

“He should not be going around offering services for works he cannot do, that is the bottom line,” Judge Malone said.

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