Thieving postman Malachy McMahon tore open hospice donation envelopes and took the cash
A disgraced postman who abused his position to steal money destined for a charity has been ordered to complete 150 hours of Community Service.
Within minutes of the order being imposed at Newry Crown Court, 37-year-old Malachy McMahon ran from a waiting cameraman, fleeing with his coat covering his head.
Last year McMahon, from Crannard Gardens in the city, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by abusing the position he held with the Royal Mail on dates between December 7, 2012, and April 8, 2013, and a further offence of obstructing a constable on April 8.
McMahon, who was summarily sacked from his job as a postman but who is now a traffic warden, admitted "opening, delaying and removing" £280 in cash from envelopes which generous members of the public had sent to the NI Hospice.
He was caught by chance after police officers stopped him for drink-driving and uncovered the opened envelopes in his car.
Judge Kevin Finnegan QC heard that McMahon had paid that money back and after it was confirmed that McMahon had not come to police attention in the six-month deferment period, the judge said there was clear legal authority that "if he had behaved himself and complied with the compensation order, which he has, the expectation is a non-custodial sentence".