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Man spent €6,700 on pizza with neighbour's bank card as she lay dead in flat for two years


Ashleigh McDonald ·

Fraud: Robert Sharkey (23) outside court in Belfast

A man is to be sentenced next month for preventing the burial of an elderly neighbour, whose body lay undiscovered in her Belfast home for around two years.

Robert Sharkey (24) appeared at Belfast Crown Court yesterday, where he admitted all but one charge against him following the discovery of the remains of Marie Conlon (68).

The charges include breaking into her home and stealing a bank card, then using the card to pay bills and buy food - including spending almost £6,000 (€6,700) in Domino's Pizza.

The remains of Ms Conlon were found in the bedroom of her Larkspur Rise flat last October, and Sharkey - who at the time of the discovery was a neighbour of hers - was arrested and subsequently charged with preventing the lawful burial of a corpse on dates between August 2015 and October 2017.

When the charge was put to him in court yesterday, he replied: "Guilty." He also entered guilty pleas to breaking into his neighbour's home and taking batteries, tools and a coffee mug, and also of stealing both £50 in cash from her, and a First Trust debit card.

Sharkey, with an address at Grays Hill in Bangor, Co Down, also entered guilty pleas to six separate counts of fraud by false representation - namely using Ms Conlon's bank card without authority.

He admitted using her bank card to buy food totalling £5,988.39 from Domino's Pizza over a period from October 2015 to 2017 and buying goods from Sainsburys to the value of £3,279.80 from July 2016 to October 2017.

The only charge he denied was breaking into the flat between June and October 2015 and stealing a Bank of Ireland debit card.

After pleas were entered to all 11 charges, both the crown and defence asked for time to consider the remaining charge.

Irish Independent

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Fraud: Robert Sharkey (23) outside court in Belfast