Wedding scam DJ gets six months
A rogue DJ who cancelled weddings at the last minute by falsely claiming his father had died has been jailed for six months.
Michael Stockman, 31, was also ordered to pay compensation of £1,200 after being convicted of 12 counts of theft.
District Judge Liam McNally said : "Mr Stockman is undoubtedly guilty of all the offences."
The judge said sentence would have been suspended if Stockman, from Knockantern Green, Coleraine, Co Londonderry had shown remorse.
He added: "You have lied in relation to the reasons that the contracts were cancelled and you have not paid back one penny.
"Had you acknowledged your guilt and shown some remorse I would have suspended the sentence."
Coleraine Magistrates Court heard how Stockman made eleventh-hour cancellations for weddings, birthday and leaving parties booked through his company North West Discos during 2012 and 2013.
District Judge McNally said: "You allowed people to enter into contracts for a DJ service for important events in their lives such as weddings. Either the night before or that night they were cancelled with an entirely untruthful excuse causing a great deal of trauma to those people who had paid you for the service."
On three occasions Stockman said his father had died. A further six times he told clients that the DJ subcontracted for their event had been involved in a car crash.
Claims he had signed over his business to another man in 2012 -- at the time of the offences -- were also dismissed by the judge as a "ruse".
Giving evidence in his own defence, Stockman said his life had spiralled out of control after he was severely attacked in May 2012.
He told the court his nose was bitten off and that he was still on medication and receiving trauma counselling as a result of the beating.
Stockman said: "I had my nose bitten off my face in an unprovoked attack. I had 13 stitches. Ever since that day my life has been upside down."
He later added: "At that time my head was all over the place not only with mental issues. That first years was like a blank canvass I could not believe half the things that have even happened here."
Tattooed Stockman, who appeared in the witness box wearing a shiny black tracksuit top with red stripes, white shirt and jeans and with a plaster over his nose said he had every intention of re-paying money to those he owed but had difficulty in raising cash.
Defence barrister Francis Rafferty said his client would be applying for bail to appeal against the conviction.
The payments made to Stockman ranged from £40 for a birthday party to £300 received in two instalments for a wedding.
In a statement released after the hearing, the Trading Standards Service, which took the prosecution, said he accepted the money knowing he was already under investigation for other similar offences.
Moira Todd, from Trading Standards said: "Michael Stockman took money from a lot of people to provide discos at their weddings and parties and either cancelled at the last minute or ignored their messages and calls in the preceding weeks.
"His actions were cruel and had the potential to ruin what should be the best day of people's lives. He made no apology to anyone and totally ignored requests for refunds."
Ms Todd said the Trading Standards Service was determined to hold rogue traders to account.