A former member of the Church’s Voluntary Trust who stole £500 from an old age pensioner, was told by a District Judge today that she’s going to jail if she doesn’t repay the money to her victim within the next six weeks.
Single mother-of-two Geraldine Crossan, 45, from Baldrick Crescent in the Rosemount area of Derry pleaded guilty at the local Magistrate’s Court to four charges of stealing £500 from her elderly victim’s Post Office pension savings account in May and June of last year.
A prosecution solicitor told District Judge Mervyn Bates that Crossan, as part of her work, regularly drove the pensioner to the Northside Post Office in Shantallow to collect her pension money.
“The pensioner, who is disabled, was unable to go into the Post Office so she gave the defendant her account number and pin number. The pensioner normally asked the defendant to withdraw £100 from her account each week. Some weeks the defendant gave her a receipt, other weeks she didn’t. In total she made £500 in authorised withdrawals”, the solicitor said.
Defence solicitor Maeloisa Barr said Crossan accepted that her actions were “a breach of trust of her employer and an abuse of trust of a very vulnerable member of society. She has attempted to take her own life as a result of her actions.
“Just yesterday she lodged £500 in her own bank account and she wants to use that money to repay the victim”, he said.
Describing Crossan’s thefts as “an appalling breach of trust”, the District Judge imposed a six month jail sentence, suspended for three years.
“If you haven’t repaid this pensioner within the next six weeks, you will go to jail”, he said.
Outside the court Crossan broke down and wept.