Laois man jailed.
A Laois resident with a gambling problem has been jailed for two years for stealing over €19,000 from a widow who had let him stay at her home.
William Butler (52) told gardaí that temptation had gotten the better of him after Kathleen Carroll, a family friend, had allowed him to stay at her home when he was in need.
He admitted obtaining her banking details and stealing €19,380 out of her late husband's pension fund over three months, to spend on gambling. None of the money has been repaid.
Butler, of Ballinakill Road, Abbeyleix, Co. Laois, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to five sample charges of stealing money from Bank of Ireland, Ballyfermot, Dublin, on dates between November 2013 and January 2014. He has no previous convictions.
Judge Karen O'Connor noted that Mrs Carroll's husband had died just months before. She said the the injured party was a “vulnerable person who was being preyed on” by Butler taking sums of money out of her account on a regular basis in those three months.
She further noted that Butler had worked as a bus driver in the time since and had promised to provide some redress.
Brian Storan BL, defending, submitted to Judge O'Connor that his client had been going through a bad time and had been gambling daily on horse racing. Counsel said Butler had since lost family support and has not seen his daughter or grandchild in a while.
Mr Storan said any punishment met by going through prison doors would have a profound effect on his client.
Judge O'Connor took into account that Butler had made full admissions, had significant difficulties in his own life and that his offending had had an impact on his family and his reputation.
She said she had no choice but to impose three years custody on Butler.
Judge O'Connor suspended the final 12 months of the sentence for that period and ordered that he undergo treatment programmes for gambling and alcohol if required.
The judge commended Mrs Carroll for the dignified manner in which she and her family attended court and wished them well in future.