herald

Monday 23 April 2018

Mother stole €106k from SuperValu she managed

TROUBLE: She claims psychic warned her about son's antics

A MEATH mother who stole over €100,000 from the SuperValu where she worked as a manager has been remanded on bail pending sentence next March.

Celine Brennan (43) later told gardai her son had got into "a bit of trouble" which she only noticed after a psychic told her to "keep a close eye" on him.

She claimed she had been approached by a man on her way to work who demanded that she hand over a certain amount of money because of her son's trouble.

She stole the cash from her employer and gave that to the man along with some of her own money.

Brennan of Coney Hall, Mornington, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two charges of stealing from SuperValu Donabate on dates between November 1 and December 31, 2010.

She had reimbursed Supervalu €23,000 before she was arrested in August 2011 and had a further €7,070 which she had saved over 101 weeks from her social welfare payments.

Her defence counsel Cathal McGreal BL, said Brennan, her parents and siblings are willing to come together to pay €800 per month until SuperValu are fully compensated for the thefts.

She hasn't worked since her arrest and her home is about to be repossessed. Garda Adrian Gates told Colm O'Briain BL, prosecuting, that Brennan had responsibility for payroll and the cash office at the time.

There were two floats in the office. One was used for the shop's ATM. The second was a working float, from which the takings from the tills would be regularly lodged by Brennan in the firm's bank account.

An audit was carried out on the shop in March 2011 but Brennan had time-locked the safes.

HOSPITAL

She said she had to go home early from work that day because her brother had been taken into hospital and didn't unlock the safes before she left.

She was told to return to work the following day, to allow for the audit to be completed, but although she came in early, she left again claiming to be sick. Attempts were made to contact Brennan by text, but she didn't reply.

The audit was finally carried out a couple of days later and it was immediately noticed that €106,638 was missing from the two safes.

Gda Gates said Brennan had filled out bogus lodgement forms claiming that she had lodged some of the takings in the bank.

There was also a small amount taken in the form of gift vouchers.

The owner of SuperValu got a call from Brennan's solicitor that day and he was informed she was admitting culpability.

The gardai were alerted and Brennan was arrested in August 2011.

Brennan agreed that she had taken the money but said she didn't know exactly how much she had stolen or when she had taken it.

Brennan said she had got her son a car for his birthday and people started to use him to get lifts here and there.

She only noticed he was getting into trouble after she visited a psychic who told her "to keep an eye" on him.

Gda Gates agreed with Mr McGreal that if Brennan had "sought his assistance for the reasons she gave for stealing", he would have helped her but she never looked for it.

Mr McGreal said his client had written a "lengthy" letter to the court outlining her reasons for stealing the money. This letter was not read out.

"The story is there for the court to accept or not to accept," counsel said before he asked that it be taken into account that this was her motivation for the theft.

He said the incident had been "unprecedented" in his client's life and is not something she will be getting herself into again.

hnews@herald.ie

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