Belfast Telegraph

Bangor man Barton stole £4k from granny in 'mean offence'

By Paul Higgins

A man who stole more than £4,000 from his own grandmother has narrowly avoided jail after a judge suspended his six month sentence for two years.

Newtownards Magistrates Court heard that Una Barton had given her grandson Thomas John Barton her bank card so he could help her with daily living such as shopping.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court, however, that Barton abused that trust and withdrew cash to buy items on the internet and play games online.

In total Barton, from Ballyree Drive in Bangor, swindled £4,237 from his grandmother, who has since passed away.

The PPS lawyer told the court that when police arrested and interviewed Barton, he made "full admissions" to what he had done, conceding he had been "f****** stupid" to have defrauded his own granny. He later pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation between May 19 and August 11, 2015.

Defence counsel Conan Rea said Barton repaid just over £2,000. Accepting that it was a "mean offence" which represented a breach of the trust placed in him, Mr Rea told the court that Barton now has a conviction for dishonesty which "will follow him around for the rest of his life and he has blighted his own future employment prospects".

"He has no one to blame but himself so he will pay a significant price for the foreseeable future," said the lawyer.

He said there were two executors of Mrs Barton's estate - Barton's father had "no interest" in the rest being repaid while his uncle wanted the remaining money to go to a charity.

Deputy District Judge Peter Prenter told Barton that as a "particularly mean" breach of trust offence, "the case law in such cases say you should go to jail immediately".

He said, however, that he was taking Barton's guilty plea, clear record and remorse in his favour but told the fraudster "go out and gather together whatever money you can and ask your uncle what charity he would prefer".

Belfast Telegraph

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