An Irish man is facing jail time after being accused of stealing a variety of items from his deceased elderly neighbor, Marie Conlon, 68.
Robert Sharkey, 24, snuck into her residence to pilfer tools, a coffee mug, batteries, £50 ($56 American), and, most significantly, her debit card. He then proceeded to use her card to purchase a variety of things, including: £5,988.39 worth of Domino’s pizza ($7,823 USD), £3,279.80 at the Sainsbury’s supermarket ($4,284), £1,030 credit for his cell phone ($1,345), and £285 on power bills ($372). Both his burglary and all the fraudulent purchases took place after she died in August 2015.
Marie Conlon: Robert Sharkey stole from dead neighbour https://t.co/5Wlyi8mbf2— BBC Newsline (@bbcnewsline) September 11, 2018
The sickening twist to this sordid tale is that Sharkey’s spending spree took place over the course of more than two years, during which time Conlon’s corpse remained rotting inside the bedroom of her Larkspur Rise flat in Belfast, from August 2015 to October 2017.
Officials consider his criminal activity to have “prevented the lawful burial of an elderly neighbor,” and he will be sentenced accordingly next month. During his first and only court appearance earlier this month, Sharkey was read charges of six separate counts of fraud by false representation and two counts of burglary, in addition to preventing lawful burial. He pleaded guilty to all charges except one, denying that he stole her Bank of Ireland card in addition to the First Trust card he used for all his exorbitant purchases. When Downpatrick District Judge Greg McCourt asked Sharkey if he “wished to say anything in answer to the charges,” he solemnly shook his head.
Cooky News of the Day: anyone else wondering why the family didn't step in here? – DJ Lil Willhttps://t.co/7Xf0D4rSu0— Mix 96.5 (@Mix965studio) September 25, 2018
The majority of reactions to this case express a general disgust, with many people focusing on the fact that, of all the things Sharkey spent the fraudulent funds on, he dropped the most money on Domino’s pizza.
The other item of note that some Internet denizens have pointed out is that it’s slightly unusual that no one in Conlon’s life thought to check in with or contact her during the time she lay deceased in her home. However, shortly after the discovery of her body, Alex Maskey, a representative of Sinn Féin (Irish political party), addressed such questions, saying, “It’s very sad a person has ended their days in this nature and I know the family has been quite distressed by it all. I’m told she led a very quiet, private life over the last number of years, which obviously has contributed to the fact she’s lain so long.”
What do you think about this case? What should Sharkey’s sentence be? Is Conlon’s family responsible in any part for not trying to check on her? Let us know in the comments down below!