Man who prevented neighbour’s burial spared trial over second stolen bank card

Robert Sharkey admitted preventing the lawful burial of a corpse
Robert Sharkey admitted preventing the lawful burial of a corpse

A 24-year-old man who has admitted preventing the lawful burial of the elderly neighbour he discovered dead in her west Belfast home, won’t face a trial for stealing a second bank card from her burgled flat.

Sentencing of Robert Sharkey, originally of Larkspur Rise, on a total of 11 charges, including using one of Marie Conlon’s debit cards to buy nearly £6,000 worth of pizzas, will now take place next month as scheduled.

Prosecution lawyer Peter Magill successfully applied to Belfast Crown Court Judge Geoffrey Miller QC for the remaining charge of the burglary and theft of a Bank of Ireland debit card from her flat to “remain on the books”.

The remains of 68-year-old Ms Conlon were discovered in the bedroom of her flat last October, and Sharkey – who at the time of the discovery was a neighbour of Ms Conlon – was arrested and subsequently charged with preventing the lawful burial of a corpse on dates between August 2015 and October 2017.

Earlier this month Sharkey, now with an address at Grays Hill in Bangor, pleaded guilty to preventing her lawful burial, and to breaking into her home and taking batteries, tools and a coffee mug, and also of stealing both £50 in cash and a First Trust debit card.

He also entered guilty pleas to six separate counts of fraud by false representation, including using the card to buy food totalling £5,988.39 from Domino’s Pizza over a period from October 2015 to 2017, buying goods from Sainsbury’s to the value of £3,279.80 from July 2016 to October 2017, and purchasing mobile phone credit from O2 Ltd amounting to £1,030 from March 2016 to October 2017.