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Mother facing jail if £500 is not repaid

A single mother who stole £500 from a pensioner has been warned she will be sent to prison if she doesn’t repay the money within six weeks.

Mother-of-two Geraldine Cros-san (45), from Baldrick Crescent in the Rosemount area of Londonderry, appeared at the city’s Magistrates Court yesterday where she pleaded guilty to four charges of stealing £500 from her elderly victim's Post Office pension savings account in May and June of last year.

A prosecution solicitor told district judge Mervyn Bates that the former member of the Churches Voluntary Trust, as part of her work, regularly drove the pensioner to the Northside Post Office in Shantallow to collect her pension money.

“The pensioner, who is disabled, was unable to go into the Post Office so she gave the defendant her account number and PIN number,” he said.

“The pensioner normally asked the defendant to withdraw £100 from her account each week. Some weeks the defendant gave her a receipt, other weeks she didn't. In total she made £500 in unauthorised withdrawals.”

Defence solicitor Maeloisa Barr said Crossan accepted that her actions were “a breach of trust of her employer and an abuse of trust of a very vulnerable member of society”.

“She has attempted to take her own life as a result of her actions,” he said. “Just yesterday she lodged £500 in her own bank account and she wants to use that money to repay the victim.”

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Describing Crossan's thefts as “an appalling breach of trust”, the judge imposed a six-month jail sentence, suspended for three years.

“If you haven't repaid this pensioner within the next six weeks you will go to jail,” he said.

Outside the court Crossan broke down and wept.

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