Ballymena care home worker admits £12,500 theft


A Ballymena woman faces up to a year in jail after she admitted stealing more than £12,000 from the care home where she worked.

Appearing at Ballymena Magistrates’ Court, 29-year-old Laura Dowie, from the Parkmount Road, pleaded guilty to stealing £12,527.48 belonging to the Care Circle Group in Dunmurry.

She also admitted a further charge of fraud by abuse of position by diverting cash to her possession or control, with all of the offences taking place on dates between October 31, 2012, and January 20, 2015.

No details were given in court as to how Dowie, who was described as a “home administrator”, carried out the offences, but District Judge Des Perry queried why the prosecution had been directed in the Magistrates’ Court rather than in the Crown Court, which carries greater sentencing powers.

A lawyer for the Public Prosecution Service told the judge that Dowie had made full admissions, had co-operated fully with police, repaid the money promptly and had shown “genuine remorse” for her actions, which meant the investigating officer felt the sentencing powers in the Magistrates’ Court were adequate in this case.

Requesting an adjournment for probation reports to be compiled on Dowie, barrister Stephen Law revealed: “She had nothing to show for the money.”

“There was no lavish lifestyle,” added Mr Law.

Adjourning the case until September 3, District Judge Perry added: “It is inevitable that I would want to see a pre-sentence report.”