Monaghan man who stole €3300 from a “vulnerable” woman jailed for 14 months

A man who stole €3300 from a “vulnerable” woman under the guise of carrying out insulation on her house and making an investment for her has been jailed for 14 months.

Michael McGauley (46) with an address in Highfield, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of stealing money from Gemma Hazley at locations in Malahide and Swords, Dublin on October 23 and October 24, 2018.

When tracked down by gardaí, McGauley asked them to apologise to Ms Hazley saying he had had an “in-depth conversation” with her. “I believe she was a vulnerable person,” he said.

McGauley had a gambling addiction and gambling debts to pay off at the time, the court heard. He has 25 previous convictions, including five for theft. He was on probation at the time of the offence.

Sentencing McGauley today/yesterday (MONDAY), Judge Martin Nolan said he had no choice but to imprison him, given his previous convictions. “He has already had his chance,” the judge said.

He handed down a three-year sentence but suspended the final 22 months on a number of conditions, including that McGauley repay is victim the €3,300 he stole from her. The court heard McGauley had saved up that money and a cheque to that amount has already been sent to gardaí to send on to Ms Hazley.

The court heard McGauley, who was working for an insulation company, took an €800 deposit from Ms Hazley for work he promised to carry out on her home. He later told gardaí he had no intention of carrying out the work.

The following day, he met Ms Hazley in a carpark in Swords and took a further €2500 from her, under the guise of investing it for her. The court heard Ms Hazley had recently split from her partner. A victim impact statement was handed in to court.

McGauley was tracked down by gardaí through the mobile phone number he gave to Ms Hazley. He made immediate admissions, telling gardaí he was a gambling addict with debts to pay.

Kenneth Connolly BL, defending, said his client was extremely remorseful. He said McGauley is now working for another insulation company and has been saving money on a weekly basis to repay Ms Hazley. He is attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings and has paid off his gambling debt.

“The victim will be paid back in full,” Mr Connolly said.