A 33 year old local man who told gardaÍ he “went mad” spending money after discovering €24,000 had been lodged by Axa into his bank account in error, had his sentencing adjourned at Dundalk Circuit Court last week so his suitability to perform community service can be assessed.
James O’Connor formerly of Bachelor’s Walk, Dundalk but now with an address at Doolargy Avenue, Muirhevnamor pleaded guilty to a charge of theft from Axa Insurance, at Permanent TSB, Clanbrassil Street, Dundalk on October 18th 2016.
The court heard last Thursday how the defendant had received €1,200 from Axa Insurance on October 17th 2016 in respect of a claim for a stolen car.
However, the following day Axa lodged €24,000 into his account by mistake in relation to a second claim by another individual.
Emails were sent seeking the return of the money, and the insurer subsequently made a complaint to gardai when it wasn’t forthcoming.
The defendant attended Dundalk garda station voluntarily in February 2017 and made a full statement of admission and accepted what he did was wrong.
He told gardaí “I don’t see that kind of money and I went mad”. He repaid a €10,000 loan to his mother in law and spent €4,000 on his children at Christmas. He said he wasted the rest on buying clothing like tracksuits and jeans.
The court heard the accused had 24 previous convictions mostly for public order and road traffic matters and Axa issued civil proceedings against him.
The Defence barrister also said that his client is parenting three of his four children alone.
Judge Petria McDonnell who said she was considering community service as part of the sentence, adjourned the case to the 18th of September for a Probation report and remanded the defendant on continuing bail.