Northern Ireland news

Solicitor charged with stealing over £70,000 from woman's estate

A solicitor has been charged with stealing over £70,000 from the estate of a dead woman.

As well as being charged with stealing £73,844 from the executors of the estate of Catherine Hayes, 62-year-old Paul Downey was also charged with four counts of false accounting and nine counts of fraud by abusing the position he was in, all alleged to have been committed on various dates between 26 July 2013 and 4 April 2014.

None of the facts surrounding the allegations were heard at Banbridge Magistrates Court, sitting in Newry, but the particulars of the fraud offences allege that Downey wrote cheques between £21,000 to £17,000 to himself as well as transferring funds to himself and the office of Paul L Downey and Co while the false accounting offences allege that Downey “destroyed, defaced, concealed or falsified” cheque stubs.

The case had been scheduled to have a Preliminary Enquiry yesterday but that was adjourned due to “medical issues.”

Downey, from Mount Royal in Banbridge, did not attend court and defence counsel told District Judge Eamon King: “We had put the prosecution on notice that we would be making an adjournment application.

"There is a medical issue after papers were served last week; these are quite technical."

Judge King adjourned the case to September 9.

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