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Saturday 10 December 2016

'My two sons had been shot... but carer robbed me of every penny'

Laura Pennick spent Mrs McNally’s money on fashion and holidays
Laura Pennick spent Mrs McNally’s money on fashion and holidays

A grieving pensioner whose €42,000 inheritance was stolen by her carer after her sons were shot dead has told a judge of the pain she suffered following the deception.

Marie McNally (67) jumped to her feet during the sentence hearing of her carer, Laura Pennick, at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday and asked Judge Melanie Greally for permission to speak, saying she was "bursting" to say something.

"She took advantage of me when my sons were shot," Ms McNally told the court. "She robbed me of every penny I had. She took that money from me when I was sick. She's a liar."

Ms McNally's son, Alan, was shot dead in the Cappagh Nua pub in Finglas, North Dublin,in 2012, three years after his older brother, Graham, was killed.

Gardai believe both were murdered by the same Finglas criminals.

Drug dealer Alan was murdered because the gang responsible for his brother's death feared he would attack them in revenge,

Alan, who had connections to local dissident republicans and a major gang from the Coolock area, became a "sitting duck" after spending more than 12 hours drinking in the Finglas pub.

Scream

As he was shot dead, a gangster kept watch outside the pub, wearing a white, elongated Scream mask

His brother, Graham, was 34 when he was shot dead in January 2009 by the same gang, who were closely linked to slain crime lord Eamon 'The Don' Dunne's crew.

Pennick (30) of Bride Street, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty to thefts totalling €41,935 from Marie McNally between January 2010 and December 2012.

The court previously heard that Pennick, a single mother-of-two, befriended Ms McNally when she was a neighbour in Finglas. Ms McNally's two sons had both been killed and she was in ill health.

Pennick became Ms McNally's "unofficial carer" and started collecting her pension and paying her bills.

She had access to Ms McNally's ATM cards and two bank accounts, including one that contained Ms McNally's inheritance from the sale of her late mother's house.

Garda Colin Rourke said Pennick made a number of withdrawals from "very small amounts up to €600".

She spent the money on "home improvements, fashion purchases, home furnishings, home appliances and holidays.

When questioned by gardai, Pennick said she had financial worries of her own and needed to do it.

Damien Colgan, defending, said Pennick owed money at the time to "individuals" who made "real threats" against her.

Sentence

She has 29 previous convictions including five theft convictions. One of these involved the theft of €1,000 from her previous employer, JD Sports.

Judge Greally agreed to adjourn the matter for one year on the condition that Pennick hand over €1,100 to Ms McNally in 14 days and save €100 a week for her victim.

The judge said she was not ruling out a custodial sentence. "I think in the circumstances Ms McNally is entitled to get as much of her money back as possible," she said, adding it would still only represent a "small portion" of Ms McNally's loss.

The case will return to court on December 4 next year.

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