Fraudster had bags packed to go to jail


A weeping fraudster who swindled thousands of pounds from an elderly Alzheimer’s sufferer to pay for his wedding and gambling debts was warned on Friday he will “almost inevitably” go to jail.

Releasing 29-year-old Cormac McGuckin on bail at Antrim Crown Court, Judge Desmond Marrinan ordered the conman back to court on Monday to face sentence.

The judge said despite the fact he had come to court with a bag packed expecting to go to prison, he would allow him to spend one last weekend with his wife and children while he considered the sentence.

McGuckin, from Broagh Village in Castledawson faces a maximum sentence of 10 years jail after he pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation, 11 charges of theft and a further offence of impersonating a police officer.

All his offences occurred on various dates between 27 October 2012 and 29 April 2013.

He had been due to be sentenced six weeks ago but that was adjourned to allow him an extended time to gather back what he stole as restitution.

However, the court heard he had not managed to scrape anything together.

McGuckin’s frauds came to light when his elderly 71-year-old victim James Halliday told his son the bank had contacted him about numerous transactions on his account which had left him with a £10,000 overdraft.

On one occasion, the court heard that McGuckin’s soon-to-be wife had called a shop to collect her tiara and wedding veil, but couldn’t because of police queries regarding credit card transactions.

Claiming to be a Constable Watters, McGuckin had called the shop to say it was fine to release the items, behaviour labelled as “bizarre” by the judge.

Mr Halliday’s son looked into the matter and in turn contacted the police.

Releasing McGuckin on bail until Monday the judge said it appeared “ a custodial sentence in inevitable”.