A BALLYMENA man has been given a suspended jail sentence after stealing a bank card and spending almost £1,000 whilst a woman was in hospital.
Ryan Lynn (24), of Crebilly Road, was sentenced at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday on charges of theft and fraud by false representation in relation to a 20 day period in August and September, 2020.
The defendant had previously been convicted after a contest.
A prosecutor said a woman reported to police money had been taken from her bank account without permission.
The woman said she had previously given Lynn her bank card and PIN number in August, 2020, but upon his return she was unwell and was taken to hospital by ambulance.
Whilst in hospital, a number of transactions totaling £946 were made using her card.
The woman told police Lynn "never returned her card" and "was the only person with access to it and the only person who knew the PIN code apart from herself".
When interviewed Lynn said he had used the card to buy the woman groceries but had returned it before she went to hospital.
Lynn denied making transactions whilst the woman was in hospital.
Health authorities confirmed the woman was in Antrim Area Hospital and could not have made the transactions.
The prosecutor said Lynn told police the allegations were a "bare faced lie".
Lynn told police he used to "go with" a relative of the woman who knew the PIN.
He claimed others knew the woman's PIN including a female he described as a "money grabber" who visited the hospital.
Meanwhile, in April this year the defendant was caught with cannabis.
Defence barrister Neil Moore said Lynn wished to pay back all the money but he was in and out of work and had only managed to raise £80 so far.
District Judge Nigel Broderick told the defendant: "I am not impressed by you as an individual. It is a nasty thing to take money from somebody when they are in hospital.
"You abused the trust given to you by this victim and you willingly took money out of her account and now you are not in a position, despite the court having given you ample opportunity, to make restitution".
"Not without some hesitation," the judge said he would not jail Lynn and handed down a six months prison term, suspended for two years.
He also ordered the defendant to pay £946 restitution.
- Main picture: The victim was in Antrim Area Hospital at the time of the offences.