Northern Ireland news

Tyrone family's disgust at theft of oil from dying man's home

Danny and Bernie O'Driscoll at the tank from which the oil was stolen, and inset, Johnny O'Driscoll. Main picture courtesy of the Tyrone Courier
Brendan Hughes

A CO TYRONE man's family have expressed their disgust after thieves drained his home oil tank while he lay dying in hospital.

Johnny O'Driscoll (72) was in Craigavon hospital where he died from cancer when it's believed the home heating oil was stolen from his house outside Cookstown.

Police are investigating and have appealed for anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity to come forward.

Mr O'Driscoll's brother Danny O'Driscoll and his wife Bernie have expressed their outrage at the "sickening" theft.

Bernie (66) told The Irish News the oil tank was nearly full when its entire contents was stolen.

"They have some cheek on them to pull in at the side of a house and take somebody's oil," she said.

Danny (70) added: "We are disappointed in people coming to rob the dead."

Mr O'Driscoll was admitted to hospital on June 21 and died on July 15.

Bernie said they discovered shortly after his death that the oil had been stolen from his rented one-bedroom home on Dunnamore Road.

"He went into hospital on June 21. We were keeping an eye on the house but we never thought to check the oil until he died," she said.

"Whenever we were cleaning out the house and that, we noticed the oil gone.

"We're disgusted, naturally. It was a full thank of oil nearly. He only put 500 litres in it at the beginning of May and in the good weather he had no heating on.

"There was a padlock on it, the top of the oil tank, but they broke the lid off it. The padlock was still intact."

Mr O'Driscoll was originally from nearby Kildress and lived in the Republic for about four decades before moving back to the Cookstown area last October.

"I think he knew himself he wasn't feeling well and he wanted to be back up home with his family again," Bernie said.

She said her brother-in-law would have visited their home "every night", adding: "He was a quiet man. We miss him immensely."

His Requiem Mass was held on last month at the Church of St Joseph, Killeenan, with burial afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.

Speaking earlier to the Tyrone Courier about the oil theft, Bernie said: "It is a disgrace and I hope whoever did this takes a long hard look at themselves. Does stealing from the ill make them feel good?"

A PSNI spokesman said: "Police received a report of the theft of home heating oil from a property in the Dunnamore Road area of Cookstown on Friday July 27.

"It is believed that sometime between midnight on the 27 June and approximately 10.45am on 27 July an oil tank was opened and a quantity of oil was stolen.

"Anyone who may have witnessed any suspicious activity in the area, or has information about this is asked to contact police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting CCS 431 of 27/07/18."

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