Pensioner was robbed by indebted gambler

Antrim Court
Antrim Court
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A man stole thousands of pounds from a pensioner to pay off gambling debts while serving a suspended sentence for fraud and theft.

Cormac McGuckin, 29, admitted conning money from the elderly gentleman between October 2012 and March 2013.



Antrim Crown Court was told McGuckin was handed a suspended sentence in September 2012 for 13 counts of theft and one of fraud – just weeks before he began stealing from the pensioner. McGuckin also admitting impersonating a police officer on April 29, 2013.

The court heard McGuckin, of Broagh Village in Castledawson, spent a great deal of time on the road as part of his job as a wine salesman. He would spend time in bookmakers when clients cancelled appointments and managed to build up debt as a result of his gambling addiction.

Prosecuting lawyer Roseanne McCormick said the money stolen from the pensioner was used “to pay for his addiction and replace money” he had taken from his fiancée. Some of the stolen money was also used to pay for her wedding dress and bridal accessories.

However, after a police investigation was launched, the bridal shop refused to hand over the items.

McGuckin rang the shop, pretending to be a police officer, to persuade them to give the dress and accessories to his bride-to-be, Ms McCormick said.

The court was told McGuckin “wasn’t thinking and made the call to the shop to find out what was going on”.

Ms McCormick stressed there was no suggestion that McGuckin’s fiancée, who is now his wife, was aware of what he was doing.

The court was told the offences came to light when the pensioner was contacted by his bank in 2013 to tell him his account was overdrawn by more than £10,000.

The pensioner, who the court heard may have been suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease at the time, spoke to his son, who in turn alerted police.

A defence barrister said his client had admitted responsibility.

McGuckin is due to be sentenced next month.