Bar manager stole £20,000 from World Cup draw

A bar manager who stole almost £20,000 from a World Cup draw then gambled it away has been sentenced to 80 hours of community service.

Londonderry Crown court was told that John Donnelly, 44, from Earhart Park in the city, had organised the draw for customers in the Phoenix Bar in Rosemount.

The 44 customers in the draw each lost between £200 and £400.

Donnelly was also put on probation for 15 months.

Judge Piers Grant was told that Donnelly had also gambled away £57,000 from the sale of his house after his divorce.

In the weeks before the draw was made he also contemplated suicide by driving his car into the River Foyle.

He admitted the matter to his employer, who reported it to the police.

A defence barrister said Donnelly had lost not only money, but also his reputation, and has since been ostracised by members of his family.

He now works as a part-time taxi driver and has repaid £1,200 to some of his victims.

Judge Grant said he took into consideration Donnelly's determination to repay all of his victims, and also the fact that he had shown a genuine remorse and has since overcome his gambling addiction.