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Drug-dealing nurse from Belfast Deirdre McCallan jailed after fleeing to US

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Deirdre McCallan fled to the US to start a new life (stock photo)

Deirdre McCallan fled to the US to start a new life (stock photo)

Deirdre McCallan fled to the US to start a new life (stock photo)

A former nurse who fled to the United States to start a new life after stealing drugs from a Belfast hospital has been jailed for three months.

Deirdre McCallan wept as a court heard on Tuesday how she repeatedly raided supplies of Diazepam and then offered the pills to colleagues.

The 31-year-old, with a previous address at Park View in Dunmurry, has been at large for nearly two years.

She was convicted in her absence in April 2018 - by which time she had moved to America.

With an outstanding warrant for her arrest, McCallan returned to Northern Ireland at the weekend to have the case dealt with.

Belfast Magistrates' Court was told a total of 118 Diazepam tablets were stolen from the Royal Victoria Hospital in July 2016.

A camera installed above a medication cabinet as part of an internal investigation captured footage of McCallan removing boxes on a number of dates.

Other members of staff said she had offered some of the stolen haul to them.

She also allegedly gave a tablet to one colleague who was off sick at the time.

McCallan was found guilty of two counts of theft by an employee, two counts of offering to supply a Class C drug, and a further charge of supplying Diazepam.

Following her conviction she was struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council last year.

It emerged on Tuesday that she is now married and living in Miami, where she works as a nanny.

Defence counsel Sean O'Hare said: "Her entire life is now in America."

Mr O'Hare confirmed that McCallan accepts full responsibility for offences he said were triggered by an episode in the hospital.

She "foolishly" went to the US to make a fresh start, but knew she had to come back to face justice, the barrister added.

He also claimed: "This is someone who has perhaps gone through more turmoil in the last couple of years than most people have to go through."

But District Judge Peter Magill insisted she deserved no credit for committing the thefts and then travelling overseas to evade responsibility.

Imposing three months imprisonment, he told McCallan: "You were in a position of trust as a nurse, you stole Diazepam on more than one occasion, and you offered this to others.

"I can only wonder why you were doing that."

McCallan, who has booked a flight back to Miami next week, was granted bail pending an appeal against the jail term.

Belfast Telegraph