Belfast Telegraph

Derry woman Sarah McFadden took £3k from charity her partner had campaigned for

By George Jackson

A woman whose partner died shortly after sailing around Ireland to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support was handed community service yesterday for defrauding the charity out of more than £3,000.

Sarah McFadden (51), from Barnwall Place in the Waterside area of Londonderry, admitted four charges of fraud by false representation by illegally collecting for the charity while carrying a collection bucket and wearing a green Macmillan cancer T-shirt. She committed the offences on dates between January 2015 and August 2016.

Defence barrister Stephen Mooney told District Judge Barney McElholm at the Magistrates' Court in Derry that while it was hard to put an exact figure of the amount of money collected, the defendant said it was £3,200.

Mr Mooney said McFadden had already repaid £250 and had come to court with another £1,000 as a sign of her remorse and regret.

The barrister said McFadden, who had no previous convictions, started her offending when she was at a low point in her life.

He said she had endured a bad marriage, which had ended. She then met a new partner, Darren Robb, and she described their relationship as wonderful.

Mr Mooney said when Mr Robb was diagnosed with cancer, he sailed around Ireland to raise money for the Macmillan Cancer Support charity shortly before he died from the disease in December 2014.

"After Mr Robb's death, the defendant seemed to search for a psychological hold on the charity, but that hold eventually became fraudulent", he said.

Mr Mooney said McFadden had not spent the money on herself but had given it to a family member in London who had fallen on hard times.

Mr McElholm said: "There are bad people and ordinary people who occasionally do bad things.

"I do not see any point in sending this woman to prison. She did something for whatever reason at a low point in her life. She did not do it to spend on herself, nor to enrich herself. She did it to help someone less fortunate but that was still wrong."

Mr McElholm made a compensation order of £2,500 and gave McFadden six months to pay it. He also imposed a probation order for 12 months and ordered the defendant to complete 180 hours of community service.

Belfast Telegraph

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