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Former GAA player charged with stealing over half-a-million pounds from employer

By Nevin Farrell

Published 08/10/2015

Former All-Ireland winning County Derry GAA player Johnny McGurk is pictured leaving Coleraine Magistrates Court
Former All-Ireland winning County Derry GAA player Johnny McGurk is pictured leaving Coleraine Magistrates Court

A former All-Ireland winner with the County Derry GAA football team has appeared in court charged with stealing over a half a million pounds from his then employer - one of Northern Ireland's best known construction industry firms.

Johnny McGurk (49), of Oakland Crescent in Gulladuff, south Derry, is alleged to have stolen the cash whilst working for Kilrea-based Patrick Bradley Ltd where, it is understood, he was their accountant.

McGurk appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Thursday where he faced one charge of the theft of £572,206 whilst an employee at the firm - which is well-known in the quarry business - over a five and a half year period between July 2006 and the end of 2011.

He also faces 36 charges of fraud by abuse of position by drawing amounts of money from Patrick Bradley Ltd bank accounts into his own Bank of Ireland savings account.

One of the charges relates to allegedly drawing on the firm a cheque for £3,650 in 2011 for GAA legends charity golf.

McGurk is from a family dynasty well-known in GAA circles and his brothers were also accomplished players.

As well as being part of the Derry team which sampled All-Ireland glory in 1993 he also helped his club team Lavey win the All-Ireland GAA football club title in 1991.

Wearing a suit he stood with his hands behind his back in the dock as a shortened version of the charges was read to him.

During a Preliminary Enquiry, a prosecutor said she believed there was a case to answer and a defence lawyer said he had no contrary submissions,

McGurk replied "no" when asked if he wished to say anything in answer to the charges.

The prosecutor asked for the case to be sent to Antrim Crown Court on a date in November and the defence lawyer applied for legal aid saying his client is in receipt of jobseeker's allowance.

District Judge Liam McNally held there was a case to answer and released McGurk on his own bail of £750 and sent the case to the Crown Court.

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