A 62-year-old man who took over £7,000 from his friend’s bank account has received a suspended sentence.
Kieran Doherty, of Magazine Street, was found guilty of eight charges of fraud by false representation between November 2012 and September 2014.
He was also convicted of failing to answer bail.
Derry Magistrates Court heard social workers contacted police on behalf of the injured party after he noticed £4,000 missing from his account.
The injured party was a man with mobility problems who has since passed away.
He reported that he had given his friend access to his Post Office account for a period of time to take money out and buy him items.
Social workers contacted Doherty and asked him to return the money but he failed to do so.
During police interview, the 62-year-old claimed his friend had asked him to keep the money safe.
He said he did not return the money because he had a number of family issues and forgot to arrange it.
The court was told the total amount taken from the injured party’s bank account was £7,100.
Defence counsel Steven Mooney said his client has no criminal record and no previous involvement with the criminal justice system.
He added it is ‘rare’ for a man of Doherty’s age and clear record to be ‘in jeopardy of an immediate custodial sentence’.
The barrister told the court the 62-year-old has had a ‘very, very tragic start to 2016’ and is at a ‘very low point at the present time’.
He revealed Doherty’s father, mother and brother in law died within days of each other in the last two months.
Mr Mooney urged the court not to impose an immediate custodial sentence.
The barrister added while the defendant has ‘very limited means’ he will ‘make whatever attempts he can to repay’ the money.
Suspending a six month sentence for three years, District Judge Alan White said he was ‘very reluctant to put someone of your age with no criminal record into custody’.
He added it is ‘important in this case to ensure the money is paid back. Sending you to prison is not going to help do that’.
The judge also ordered Doherty to pay £7,100 to the injured party’s estate at £80 per month.
Judge White warned the defendant ‘if you do not pay that you will go to prison’.