Northern Ireland

Enniskillen man who stole £45,000 from granny jailed

old hands on walking stick Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The judge said Elliot's siblings' "legacy has been spent on his gambling addiction"

An Enniskillen man who stole £45,000 from his grandmother to fund a gambling habit has been jailed for 12 months.

David Elliott, 53, of Derrychara Park, "the favoured grandchild" of the victim, was chosen to look after her financial affairs because of their close relationship.

He pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of his position at Dungannon Crown Court.

His lawyer said the court was entitled to consider this as "mean and unsavoury offending".

Elliott, along with his two brothers and a sister, would have been one of the principal beneficiaries of his grandmother's estate following her death in January 2017.

'Dickensian effect on brothers and sister'

The judge observed that it "hardly makes the basis for a happy family gathering" and the lawyer agreed it had "driven a massive wedge between the siblings".

He added: "This was a serious matter by anyone's stretch of the imagination, which unfortunately has had an almost Dickensian effect on his brothers and sister.

"Their legacy has been spent on his gambling addiction."

He said the high breach of trust was carried out over a sustained period of time and involved a significant amount of money.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The judge said Elliott's gambling addiction was a reason but not an excuse for his offending

He said Elliott was "a bad person to choose as a controller" as his previous convictions for theft and fraud must have been known.

Although this was no fault on those who chose him, the judge said Elliott would have benefitted from "someone else looking over his shoulder".

He said his gambling addiction provided a reason but not an excuse for his offending.

Stealing from the Royal British Legion

The judge added that given the impact on his siblings only an immediate custodial sentence was appropriate, which would also be a deterrent to others.

Elliott was handed a two-year sentence, half of which will be spent in custody and half on supervised licence.

In 2018, Elliott received a 12-month suspended prison sentence for stealing £4,000 from the Royal British Legion.

He had taken the money over a two-year period while holding the post of Poppy Appeal Organiser in Enniskillen.

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