Woman who stole €18,000 from her mother jailed for nine months

A woman who stole nearly €18,000 from her elderly mother’s account has been sentenced to nine months in prison after she failed to make realistic efforts to bring compensation to court.

Clare Armstrong, aged 51, of Upper Rathmines Rd, Dublin, took the money from her mother’s bank account with her ATM card over a nine-month period from Dec 2008 to Aug 2009.

The thefts took place at various bank machines in Rathmines and Rathgar, and it was the woman’s brother who discovered and reported the thefts as their mother, who is in her 80s, is in a nursing home.

Judge Dermot Dempsey said it was a “mean and despicable act” and sentenced her at Swords District Court after Alice O’Reilly, defending, told the court that Armstrong had “done her very best” and brought €140 in compensation to court.

The court heard that nearly €18,000 was stolen, but there is an outstanding amount of €11,620.

“Where are we going with €140?” asked Judge Dempsey after he repeated that it is not a realistic amount.

“The injured party is not going to recover her money,” he added.

Ms O’Reilly told the court that Armstrong has been involved in a CE scheme on a voluntary basis and after paying her bills she has little money left over.

She said if Armstrong goes into custody she will lose her flat and had to pay for repairs for her boiler and other items.

“She had ample opportunity before this to come up with money and she won’t have any of those problems if she is in custody,” added Judge Dempsey.

“This is a mean, despicable act using her mother’s ATM card and taking money,” said Judge Dempsey and said he had given Armstrong “every opportunity” before sentencing her to nine months in prison.

He refused to suspend any of the sentence after a request by defence solicitor and fixed recognisance in the event of an appeal.

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