N. Ireland Politics

Ballymena man stole £6,000 from his father

High court
Image caption The case was heard at the High Court

A Ballymena man secretly stole £6,000 from his elderly father while helping with his financial affairs, the High Court has been told.

Roger Clark, 57, of Loughmagarry Road, has already pleaded guilty to one count of theft committed between July and October 2009.

He has been ordered to serve 11 months in jail but was seeking bail pending an appeal against the length of sentence.

Prosecutors said Clark took the cash in a "drip-feed" method.

Crown counsel Barry Valentine told the court police became aware of Clark's scam last November.

The barrister said: "Over a period of months before that he had managed surreptitiously to secrete, by drip-feed, £6,000 in cash from his own father.

"He did this by assisting his father in financial transactions and taking portions of the money involved when it was being done."

A defence lawyer accepted it was "a very unsavoury case" which has left Clark feeling "greatly ashamed".

It has also resulted in complete estrangement from his father.

The court was told that the defendant suffered from serious ill-health, with some concerns that he may have a tumour.

His wife also has problems with arthritis, and the pair were said to depend heavily on each other.

"These people have a very frugal existence. Between them both, they exist on £153 a week," the defence barrister said.

"He knows custody is likely to be imposed but hopes the sentence will be reduced in some way."

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan refused to grant bail ahead of the appeal scheduled for next month.

He said: "This man pleaded guilty to a mean and persistent offence of theft. He received a custodial sentence and there appears to be little doubt that a custodial sentence was appropriate."