A 75-year-old man who fraudulently used his cousin’s debit card and bank details has been labelled ‘wicked and devious’ at Derry’s Magistrate’s Court.
William Elliott, of Ramin Park, Drumahoe, was given access to his cousin’s bank information after his cousin suffered a stroke in 2011.
With unlimited access to both his cousin’s debit card and bank details, he bought goods from Amazon, Insure and Go, Comcubed, Specsavers, Millennium Forum, Dunelm Mill, Evans, Colin McFarland Tyres and Max Fuels, as well as withdrawing significant sums of cash.
District Judge Desmond Perry said: ‘What a way to end one’s life,’ before the prosecution outlined the circumstances of the case.
The court heard the defendant is the first cousin of the injured party, and the injured party suffered a stroke in 2011 and was taken to hospital unconscious.
He was released from hospital in February 2012 and at that time, gave some control of his debit card and bank account to the defendant, to help assist him in paying bills and making cash withdrawals.
However, it was outlined that with such access the defendant made transactions and cash withdrawals to benefit himself and not the injured party.
Defence counsel explained that Elliott was aged 75 and had no previous record, and was in court with his wife.
He also explained that the two men were good friends as well as cousins.
He said, “They were good friends; so much so that it was the defendant’s wife who discovered the injured party on the evening he had collapsed as he was due at their home for dinner.”
He continued, “Unfortunately temptation fell into the way of the defendant”.
“Mr Elliott has since apologised for what he has done, sending a letter to his cousin in February 2014, acknowledging and apologising for what he had done.”
The court also heard that Elliott had only married in 2008 and was in full employment until his retirement.
Passing sentence Judge Perry said, “This is a wicked and devious dishonesty in relation to a close relative.
“The custody threshold has now passed and the question is whether I can suspend those sentences.
“But you have now pleaded guilty, albeit at a very late stage.”
Elliott was sentenced to six months in jail on each charge to run concurrently, suspended for three years. He was also ordered to pay restitution of £7,000, to be paid back within six months, with an option to ask for a further six month extension from District Judge McElhom.
Judge Perry stressed that Elliott would have to serve his sentence if he re-offended in the next three years and concluded, “There is an expectation that the money be forthcoming in the next 12 months.”