A couple in their 30s who admitted charges relating to the theft of an 83-year-old man’s life savings were given custodial and suspended sentences at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court on Thursday.
The victim, who had saved €50,000 after having worked all his life, was left traumatised after the money was thieved by Michael Mullane (36), and held by his partner Suzanne Stokes, (35) both with an address at Liosan, Gortboy, County Limerick.
Mullane, who had 66 previous convictions including for theft, was jailed for four years with the final 12 months suspended, provided he does not reoffend in the first year of his release back into the community.
Stokes was given a two-year jail suspected sentence with liberty for the courts to activate the sentence if she reoffends within the next two years.
Imposing the sentences, Judge Catherine Staines said the defendants “took advantage of a very vulnerable man and extracted his life savings for which he had worked hard for all his life”.
The couple pleaded guilty to a total of six charges under the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001, just moments after a jury was sworn in to hear the case last February.
Mullane admitted stealing €30,000 belonging to the victim at Allied Irish Bank, Newcastle West, Co Limerick, on July 20th, 2017, and to stealing a further €20,000 of the victim’s money, at the same bank on August 2nd, 2017.
He also pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to commit theft from the victim at an unknown location, on a date in March 2018, and at Garbally, Kilmeedy, County Limerick, on April 18, 2019.
Stokes admitted possessing the victim’s stolen money in tow tranches of €30,000 and €20,000 at Allied Irish Bank, Strand Street, Kanturk, Co Cork, on July 20th, 2017 and on August 2nd, 2017.
Senior defense counsel, Mark Nicholas, SC, said Mullane had made “significant efforts” to pay the victim back his money.
The court heard €15,000 was paid back to the victim, and a further €4,000 had been pledged to be paid as soon as possible.