Ex-leisure centre manager who stole £3,800 'out of revenge' avoids prison
The former manager of a Co Down leisure centre has escaped going to prison after he admitted stealing almost £4,000 "out of revenge" from his employers.
Frederick Kelly Shaw (56), of Wyndell Heights, Newtownards, was handed down a nine-month jail sentence suspended for two years after he admitted burgling Bangor's Aurora leisure complex last year.
Downpatrick Crown Court heard Shaw had carried out five separate burglaries at the Valentine Playing Fields centre on dates between July and August 2015.
Rosemary Walsh, prosecuting, told the court that Shaw had been manager at Aurora until he had been suspended from his post but had retained a set of keys to the premises.
"He entered the premises without permission and knew how to deactivate the alarm system," she told Judge Piers Grant.
"He unlocked a safe and removed keys to a number of vending machines.
"He opened the vending machines, removed coins and then emptied them into a bag. Workers were able to identify him from CCTV footage as the burglar."
The court heard that two days after the last burglary on August 11, 2015, police arrested Shaw and found a receipt in his car which showed he had deposited £1,300 into his Danske Bank personal account.
"During interview, he fully admitted to police the offences that were put to him," said Ms Walsh.
Judge Grant was told that Shaw had two previous convictions for dishonesty dating back 40 years which included a burglary of a non-dwelling in 1975.
The prosecution lawyer said that it was a "breach of trust" case in that Shaw had worked as manager at the centre where he had been expected to safeguard the premises and its contents.
Defence barrister Chris Holmes told the court that although the Aurora Leisure Centre estimated that only £1,300 had been taken, Shaw was now admitting that he took a total of £3,800 during the burglaries.
He said that Shaw had committed the burglaries out of "sheer stupidity" and as an "act of retribution" after he was suspended from his post.
Mr Holmes added: "He realised he was on CCTV. He realised would stand out on CCTV and he would have been easily detected.
"He has now gone from middle management to living on absolute borderline benefits.
"He has brought this entirely upon himself."
Judge Piers Grant said that it was a clear "breach of trust case" as relations between Shaw and his employers had broken down.
"I am satisfied that these offences were committed not for financial gain," he said.
"This was done out of revenge at the way you perceived you had been treated by your employers."
Stating that the £3,800 had now been repaid in full, Judge Grant said he was sentencing Shaw to nine months in custody but would suspend the jail term for a period of two years.
He warned Shaw that if he committed any offences in the next two years "it is almost inevitable in the circumstances that this sentence will be put in effect if you are brought back to court".